By: Candace Barnes
If you like thick saucy, sweet baked beans you will love these!
This recipe takes some time for the flavors to develop - but it is worth it! Make it on a week when you will be home for a few days. It's not actually labor intensive - but it takes quite a few hours of cooking. Did I say it's worth it? Oh yea!
1 lb dried beans (Great Northern, Navy, Small White, Lima beans - really any you like. I like the Navy or small white the best.)
1 lb bacon
1 medium onion - chopped
1/3 cup (to 1 cup+) brown sugar
1/2 cup (to 1 1/2 cups+) molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (to 1 1/2 cups+) ketchup
1/4 t. dry mustard (optional)
1/3 cup (to 1 cup+)
2-3 cups boiling water
1 -1/2 cups - precooked chopped bacon (I buy this in a bag at Costco)
These measurements are approximations - I tend to just eye it and taste it as I go.
Soak beans overnight or place beans in large sauce pan and cover with water. Heat to boiling, boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Rinse beans. Add water to cover beans and simmer on very low for about 30 - 50 minutes or until it is getting tender - but don't over cook - they will cook a lot more yet. Do not boil the beans or they will burst. Drain beans.
Heat oven to 350 F.
Grease large casserole(s). I can never get it into 1 - 8x11 casserole at first, so I use another smaller one for the extra. As it cooks down, you can combine it into 1 pan.
Mix together: Beans, onion, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, salt, dry mustard, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked bacon add 2-3 cups boiling water. (This mixture will be thin at this point.)
Layer beans and uncooked bacon strips in your pans - top with bacon strips. Cover with foil. Bake for 3-5 hours +. If it is cooking too fast turn the heat down a bit.
Every hour: take the pans out of the oven and stir. When the beans start to look dry add more brown sugar, molasses, ketchup and water. Recover and place back in oven. When they cook down enough, combine the pans into one pan. I taste them also when I stir and add what I think it needs. When you are done this step - don't worry if the beans themselves are still a little dry tasting. What you want to have at this point is a thick delicious sauce.
If you are in a rush you can probably skip this next step - but I think it really adds to the flavor of the dish!
Take the beans out of the oven (the sauce should be thick and dark by now). Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight or even for a day or two.
Don't skip this step or you will have dry tasting beans!
The day you want to eat them, put the beans back into a sauce pan and heat up. Remove the large bacon strips and discard. Now you need to make sure the beans get to that soft stage and don't taste dry. Add a few cups of boiling water and bring to a very low simmer, cover. Let the beans gently simmer until they are nice and tender add more water if needed. Remove the lid and let the extra water cook off until they are the consistency that you like. Be careful that they don't stick or burn.
When they are ready, I like to keep them hot in my crock-pot.
If you have leftovers - you may need to add a little water when you heat them up.