If you been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m preeeeetty much a vegetarian, like 99% of the time. Except these last 2 days when I’ve been craving chicken like it’s my JOB! So I’ve been eating it, lots of it. Weird. Usually though, that 1% I’m not a veg head is because I have to taste test recipes. Or if there’s bacon around, I’m never a vegetarian around bacon. Ya ya ya, I know, bacon is terrible for you. I’m not about to say it’s healthy, or have even 1 redeeming quality, other than it makes my tastebuds do freaking back flips. That’s the only redeeming quality I’ve found thus far, and it’s enough for me to allow it in my life, sometimes
I also love beans, like, loooooove beans.
Sorry Jon, I know this makes out marriage a bit more difficult than it needs to be.
When you combine beans and bacon, cook them with beer and brown sugar, oh shoot, oh shoot, OH SHOOT! Open the windows, because I’m for sure going to have seconds. And maybe thirds. And have some for breakfast too.
Even Jon, the man who says he doesn’t like baked beans, really like them. Ok, for the record, he pretty much barely likes anything. Except off brand rainbow sherbet, almost any type of meat from the grill, and bread. Those 3 things are guaranteed to make his tastebuds do a happy dance. So I was super shocked and super happy when he said the beans were awesome, and even MORE awesome the second day (which means he even ate the leftovers).
I started with Ina’s recipe and then tweaked it, a lot! I added a pinch of this, a dash of that, and voila… my molasses bacon baked beans were born.
Molasses Bacon Baked Beans
- 1/2 pound dry red kidney beans
- 1/2 pound dry navy beans
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 bayleaf
- 5 ounces thick-cut smoked bacon, cubed
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
- 2 quarts water
- 1 bottle (12 oz) beer (I used a pale ale, but any kind will do)
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Place the beans (both kinds) in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Make sure there’s at least 1-inch of water above the beans (they expand as they soak). Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and soak on the counter for at least 6 hours (or overnight). Drain and rinse the beans.
Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water (about 2 quarts) and add a bayleaf and a few peppercorns (this will help season the beans a bit). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour, or until the beans are tender. A good way to tell if the beans are tender is to scoop up several beans in a spoon and if the skin starts to peel off, they’re done. Drain the beans, remove the peppercorns and bayleaf, and reserve the cooking liquid.
While the beans are cooking, cook the cubed bacon in a large pot until it’s just cooked, but still soft (not crispy). Remove the cooked pieces of bacon and put them on a paper towel. Leave the grease in the pot though.
Saute the onions in the bacon grease, just until they’re translucent. Then add the garlic and sautee for another 30 seconds.
In the same pan the onions and garlic are in, whisk in the molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and 1 bottle of beer. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add the beans and cooked bacon to the large pot. Turn the heat to low, place the lid on top and cook for about 4 hours. Check and stir occasionally; if the beans are too dry, add 1/2 cup of the reserved bean liquid. Add more bean liquid if necessary in 1/2 cup measurements. Let that liquid absorb before you add more.
To thicken the sauce (if it got too thin), remove the lid from the pot, turn up the heat to medium and continue cooking for about 30 minutes. The beans should have a slow and low boil around the edges and should slowly start to thicken. Serve hot.
My favorite way to eat baked beans is with potato chips crunched up on top… or just scoop up the beans on a chip. But most people like a full meal though, not just beans and chips. Here’s some menu options that go great with baked beans! This would be a fantastic menu for Father’s Day in fact… which is in 2 weekends!
BBQ Beer Chicken
Asian Mango Coleslaw
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Funfetti Cake with Strawberry Buttercream (I made this last year for Father’s Day, and my dad loved it!)