My husband is closing in on his 50th birthday. He decided that he wanted to have a birthday party. I am not a big birthday party person but I relented and hosted a party for him yesterday. It turned out great. His one food-related request was to ask me to make baked beans like his mother used to make. The funny "aside" on this comment is that his sister came down for the party and informed us that his mom used premade baked beans, put bacon or pork on top and baked them in the oven. Funny! But not... because these beans took a long time and a lot of work. The things you do for your family!! At least they went over well and my husband liked them. I will tell you that these beans are quite "tangy" so next time I make them I will reduce the vinegar and increase the brown sugar and/or molasses. I would also like to suggest that you read this recipe thoroughly. I missed a few things when I made it. I could not find dried yellow-eye or cannelini beans so I used dried pinto beans.
Baked Beans with Maple-Glazed Bacon
- ACTIVE: 20 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 7 HRS 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
- 3-1/2 cups yellow eye or navy beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked overnight for 2 hours and drained
- Kosher salt
- 9 slices of bacon, 1 slice cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark unsulphured molasses
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- In a large pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 hours; add water as needed to keep the beans covered by 2 inches. Season the beans with salt and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 4 cups of cooking liquid. Transfer the beans to a large, deep baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook the bacon strips over moderate heat until the fat has rendered, 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook over moderate low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 minutes. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, crushed red pepper, black pepper and 1-1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt and simmer for 1 minute, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the bacon-onion mixture over the beans and stir in the reserved bean cooking liquid. Cover the beans with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the maple syrup with the red wine vinegar and mustard. Arrange the remaining 8 bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and generously brush them with maple syrup mixture. Bake the bacon in the same oven as the beans for about 15 minutes, basting 3 times and turning the bacon twice, until richly glazed. Transfer the bacon to a plate.
- Carefully pour 1/3 cup of water onto the baking sheet and return it to the oven for about 3 minutes to dissolve the caramelized syrup. Uncover the beans and carefully stir in the syrup. Bake the beans, uncovered, for about 20 minutes longer, until the liquid has reduced by about one-fourth.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Top the beans with the glazed bacon and bake until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
The beans can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat, covered, in a 350 degree oven before proceeding.
The Creative Cook