Friday Recipe Exchange: Baked Beans

jeffreyw baked beans

Baked Beans photo by JeffreyW

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From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

I was thinking of backyard cookouts when trying to pick a topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. Running through favorite side dishes, baked beans jumped to the top of the list. It is one of those dishes I equate with summer. I usually only put a pot of baked beans together for large cookouts or picnics and I love them. I like that you can mix up a variety of beans and sauces to get entirely different flavors: sweet or savory, spicy or full of smoky goodness. Difficult to choose a favorite.

With that in mind, let’s start with JeffreyW’s Baked Beans recipe (click here) and his walk-through (in words and picture) of his process (here).

Here’s a quick recipe that spices up a simple can of baked beans and adds a touch of sweet, too. Nita’s Baked Beans, recipe here.

If baked beans aren’t your thing, how about Butter Beans and Greens (recipe here), since in many backyard gardens, the collards, mustard greens and spinach could be flourishing.

What’s on your plate this weekend? Do you have any secret family recipes for baked beans? Go ahead, share in the comments, your secret’s safe with us.

The featured recipe tonight is savory, sweet. smoky and oven baked. Who knew molasses could be so good?

Boston Baked Beans
This serves 8, but you can easily double it for large gatherings. The slow cooking, white beans and molasses are what give these baked beans their signature flavor.

1 pound (2 cups) dried white beans (Great Northern or navy beans)
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup (or 2 tbsp tomato paste)
1 tbsp dry mustard
1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into pieces
4 cups water, or more if necessary
1/4 tsp salt (more may be needed, but start here)
1/4 tsp pepper
large dutch oven, bean pot or heavy duty oven proof pot

Soak the beans overnight, drain, and rinse them. (Here at high altitude, soaking doesn’t do much, so I pressure cook them for 20 minutes instead, then let them soak for an hour)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Drain and rinse the beans.

Put the beans in a large, ovenproof pot.. Add the onions, brown sugar, molasses, tomato paste, mustard, and bacon. Add water, salt, and pepper. Return the beans to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven.

Cook the beans for 4 hours, checking them every hour to see if the pan seems dry. Add more water as needed, ½ cup at a time.

Add more salt and pepper, if you like, and let the beans sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Note: To reheat leftovers, add more water and cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until hot.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, this week’s menu was Grilled Rosemary Steak with Grilled Sweet Peppers and Potatoes. Have a great weekend! – TaMara

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20 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    My family always uses the traditional Durgin Park recipe. It requires an actual bean pot and salt pork not bacon. The last time I was I was at Durgin Park, it seemed that they had sweetened the recipe to match modern tastes.

    ETA: Proper baked beans are something I associate with winter not summer.

  3. 3
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Eww. That is not a happy photo.

  4. 4
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: You have broken the first rule of recipe threads. Go away now.

  5. 5
    mikefromArlington says:

    target=”_blank” works wonders… just sayin

  6. 6
    SatanicPanic says:

    I never comment on these threads since I am not much of a cook, but damn those look so good I am gonna try this one

  7. 7
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m not really a baked bean fan, but I love me a good corn salad.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    I also like the Durgin Park Indian Pudding recipe. Godawful ancestral hangover, I suspect. Again, I see it as winter food.

  9. 9
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: Huh. I have never heard of such a thing.

    6 ears corn
    cherry tomatoes
    thinly sliced red onion
    avocado

    But it’s intriguing.

  10. 10
    gbear says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: Really. It looks like a pile of boiled june bugs.

  11. 11
    WaterGirl says:

    I am not a bean eater, but I have always thought that black beans are very good looking.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @efgoldman: People who came into Salem actually: 1629-40. Moved to Concord, MA shortly after the witch trials. Then to New York in the early 1800s and thus to WI in the 1840s.

    I believe your stories about Durgin Park; they fit completely with my memories. I always order the lamb chops.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @efgoldman:The staff was much more polite in 2009 than it was in various previous visits.

  14. 14
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Apple juice is the secret to awesome baked beans.

    You’re welcome.

  15. 15
    Origuy says:

    I make baked beans for potlucks that are similar to the one above; I started with the one from Joy of Cooking. I add chopped celery and bell pepper and a tablespoon of mild curry powder. I leave off the meat because so many of the people I have potlucks with are vegetarians. Usually I just use the canned vegetarian baked beans because I’m lazy.

  16. 16
    sm*t cl*de says:

    Really. It looks like a pile of boiled june bugs.

    Bloody oath, when that image came up on the screen, it gave me a flashback to the pathology lab.

  17. 17
    debbie says:

    @efgoldman:

    I used to love going to Durgin Park before they gentrified themselves, but I used to get the New England Boiled Dinner because there would still be room left for the Indian Pudding.

    We also used to go to Mondo’s for farmer’s breakfasts. They, too, lost a lot when they had to relocate for the Haymarket upgrade.

  18. 18
    dp says:

    This is one of the few recipes I use that I developed myself. It’s sweet, savory and spicy, and it makes a lot. If you don’t care for the heat, you can cut back on the jalapeno pith and seeds, as well as the cayenne. I’m doing it tomorrow with brisket.

    * 1 pound dried Great Northern or navy beans (navies are better)
    * 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
    * 1 large onion, chopped
    * 2 jalapenos, including pith but discarding seeds of one, chopped
    * 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic)
    * 1/4 cup tomato paste
    * 1/4 cup sugar
    * 1/3 cup molasses
    * 1 teaspoon dry mustard
    * 1 bay leaf
    * 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    * 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
    * 4 cups chicken stock (can substitute water)
    * 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    * 1 teaspoon black pepper
    * 2 teaspoons kosher salt

    Soak beans overnight. Drain and rinse.

    Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Saute’ bacon, onion and jalapenos together in a Dutch oven over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about five minutes, then add garlic and saute’ until fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir in tomato paste, sugar, molasses, dry mustard, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke and mix well. Add beans and four cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, add cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper, cover and place in oven.

    Cook for approximately 6 hours. Check and stir occasionally, adding water as necessary.

  19. 19
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: This one’s for you then!

    3 ears corn, cooked until just tender

    1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

    1 large tomato, seeded & diced

    1 bunch green onions, chopped

    ¼ cup cilantro, chopped fine

    2 cloves garlic, grated fine

    ½ tsp ground oregano, preferably Mexican

    Juice of 1 lime

    Salt & Pepper to taste

    2 avocadoes, diced

    Mix together all ingredients except avocadoes, allow to sit in refrigerator four hours or overnight. Right before serving, fold in avocadoes and adjust seasoning as necessary. Corn can be sautéed after kernels are removed, roasted on cobs, or boiled.

  20. 20

    @gbear: At the first glance it looked like Gagh.

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