Quick Baked Beans

Baked beans is a dish traditionally containing white beans which are parboiled and then baked at a low temperature for a lengthy period of time in some sort of sauce. This is the usual preparation of the dish in the United States when not using canned beans. In the United Kingdom the dish is sometimes baked, but usually stewed in a sauce. Canned baked beans are not baked, but are cooked through a steam process.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baked_beans#

We’ve been focused on Southern dishes for the last few months, so it seems like a good time to move on to another region. Baked beans originated in colonial New England, but they’re pretty much standard picnic and barbecue food across the whole county, so I’m actually going to classify this particular recipe as just generic American. I do intend to dig deeper into the New England roots in future recipes though.

So why am I calling a recipe that takes 2 hours “quick”? If you google “baked bean recipes” without any more words to narrow down your search, most of the first page of results are “semi-homemade” or “semi-scratch”, recipes to doctor up a boring can of baked beans. I’m sure anyone who’s ever eaten any other kind will agree that canned baked beans aren’t all that great. I figured what the heck. I’ll be sharing at least one version of baked beans from scratch in the near future, so why not see what I come up with when I use my method on recipes using canned baked beans. I used “pork and beans” for this batch, which I think are slightly less over sweetened and flavored than products labeled “baked beans”. However recipes I looked at were more or less evenly split on which product to use.

Oh my god did this turn out delicious. Healthy? Probably not, but there’s so much flavor cooked into these beans. My wife, who generally isn’t a fan of beans and has only tried maybe two or three of the dishes I’ve made for this blog absolutely loved these.

Since baked beans aren’t really a whole meal on their own, and they go great with grilled foods I had intended to grill some chicken to go with them, but after having my credit card declined at Menards (due to physical problems with the card/ my not knowing the pin they’ve never asked me for before) and then discovering that it has also been used for some unauthorized transactions recently, I wasn’t really in a mood to mess around with grilling in the cold and dark, so the chicken was cooked indoors. A simple salad rounded out the meal.

You will notice in the pictures that I probably left the beans in the oven a fair bit longer than I should have. Even the burnt edges were delicious, but I have adjusted the recipe so that hopefully yours won’t be black on the edges.


Baked Beans

Serves: 4-5
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1:30
Total 2 hours.

5 slices bacon, halved. 

1 small yellow onion, diced small
½ medium green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

5 Tablespoons brown sugar
6 Tablespoons ketchup
5 Tablespoons barbecue sauce
3 Tablespoons molasses
2 ¾ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¾ Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
⅞ teaspoon ground mustard
OR
1 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard

2 15 oz. cans pork and beans
OR
1 28 oz. can baked beans
OR
1 ¾ cups dry navy beans, boiled for 1 hour and drained (reserving liquid)

Optional:
1 medium sweet onion, in place of yellow onion
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, in place of other mustard
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 ¼ cups water

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Put bacon into a cold skillet and place over medium heat. Cook until fat renders and bacon is about half cooked. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. 

Add onion and bell pepper to bacon fat and sauté until quite soft, 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two. Remove from heat. 

Add brown sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, pepper, salt and mustard and and mix well. Add beans, including the liquid if using canned beans, and mix. Transfer to a greased 3 quart casserole dish and add just enough water (or bean cooking broth) to barely cover the beans. Lay bacon over the top and bake for about 1 ½ hours, until sauce is thickened and bacon is cooked. Add additional water if it seems to be drying out too fast. 

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