Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Classics: Baked Beans

Another summer barbecue, classic side dish.  This side is so easy that I can not believe I have ever eaten it out of a can.  ( I also can't believe I just admitted that to you.)  This past grilling endeavor on my husband's part was a great opportunity to for me to make baked beans as a side in place of the potato salad.  This is such a staple of American casual cuisine in my mind.  However, during a brief time I spent as a traveler with a work visa in England, I had it as an integral part of their traditional "English Breakfast." Cheerfully referred to as "beans on toast", this meant a can of Heinz baked beans, warmed and dumped over white, sliced bread toast.  I was a little disappointed when it was first served to me but then it fit my young traveler's budget and morning appetite.  It was equivalent to an "egg-on-a roll" that you can get at any New York bodega for $1.99.

A far cry from Heinz baked beans in a can, I am very happy with the way this recipe turned out.  It has that traditional sweetness along with a little added spice.

Baked Beans
  • One 16 oz bag of dry white kidney beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 pound of slab bacon (go to a butcher, please), diced in small cubes
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 of a cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ground dry mustard
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • dash of chipotle powder (optional but it adds to the smokey flavor with just a touch of heat)
  • salt and pepper to taste
I start my beans in the slow cooker on high for about 30 to 45 minutes with enough water to cover them with an inch of water above the beans.  If you don't have a slow cooker you can put them in a large pot with the same amount of water to simmer.  In a large dutch oven or cast iron pot, cook your bacon and onion until your onion is translucent and your bacon is starting to brown.  Drain your beans and add them to the pot. Toss so that they are coated with bacon fat.  Add all other ingredients and toss.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Then simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Just for inspiration, I have to show you our complete meal.

On the left is a spicy, no-mayo slaw with red cabbage and carrots, and below is Nick' slow cooked, barbecue brisket.

If Nick ever decides to share this recipe it could be a future blog post.


  1. wow i love this recipe: the sweet-tangy taste goes well with Indians...will def try it out. how you been?
    and Nick...request from a bevy of females: share the recipe...:P

  2. This looks have a lovely blog...I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that

  3. Thanks for dropping in my place...Ghee is also called as clarified butter,you will definetly get this in Newyork..Seaech in big super markets,Or you could always use butter for this