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Baked Beans

Roger McShane

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Lots of good ideas already. I like plenty of pork flavor (some smoked and maybe some good sausage crumbled up), a good shot of mustard to cut the sweetness of molasses and brown sugar.

To me, one of the most important things is cooking your own dry beans. I like to use 2 or 3 kinds, usually small red beans, navy beans, and pinto beans. I pretty much cook the beans by themselves until they're almost done and then start the doctoring. This way you can control the salt content (canned beans are really salty, rinse them if you use them) and do away with any "can" taste.

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Dont know if it qualifies but I like baked beans on toast.

I crisp up a few slices of bacon set aside then crumble, and then add then cook some sweet yellow onions in the fat. Add chopped black olives and fresh ginger and garlic then mix in one can of baked beans and use a potatoe masher and mash till the conisitency of refried beans. Then cook uncovered till the loose most of the moisture.

I have a Central Market store where I get a loaf of Prosciutto and black pepper bread. (Bread with meat in it! YAY!) slice it on the bias toast it with olive oil and salt and then dip/spread/dunk/dive it into or with the beans.

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The last time I decided to make baked beans we had vegetarians coming over.

I decided on a hybrid between baked beans and mexican beans.

Soaked a couple pounds great northerns over night, drained and covered with water in a cast iron pot.

Added a finely diced mirepoix, a bouquet garni of a few thyme sticks, a couple bay leaves, a whole head of garlic, peeled, dry mustard, and maple syrup. Brought to a simmer and left it to cook all afternoon in a slow over, checking liquid from time to time, and salting toward the very end.

My they were tasty. I'm not even sure I really missed the bacon.


Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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We've got mention of at least:

Beans -- Use a variety, not just Great Northern.

Flavorings -- Whiskey, mustard.

Herbs -- Thyme and bay leaf, maybe marjoram.

Aromatic vegetables -- Yellow globe onions, garlic, ginger, mirepoix (the French version of "the trinity"!).

Other Vegetables -- Tomato paste, ketchup (assuming Jack's "Heinz" was ketchup).

Meats -- Bacon, salt pork, sausage, smoked pork hocks, and hot dogs.

Sweetness -- common granulated sugar, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup.

Smoke -- From bacon, smoked pork stock, sausage (if smoked), Tabasco Chipotle sauce (or similar).

Browned Flavor -- Onions browned in oil, browning from the baking.

Stock -- Smoked pork stock, maybe with mirepoix and other common stock flavorings.

For acid, maybe the only source mentioned so far is the vinegar (I'm assuming) in the Tabasco Chipotle sauce.

Might need another source of acid?

We've got salt, pepper, sugar, acid -- the big four in

Gray Kunz and Peter Kaminsky, 'The Elements of Taste', ISBN 0-316-60874-2, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 2001.

We've got a lot of mention of smoke that Kunz and Kaminsky also emphasize.

Jack mentioned butter. I love butter!

Looks like I'm alone in thinking about Worcestershire sauce.

Haven't heard anything about bell peppers, roasted bell peppers, mushrooms, or anchovies.

Maybe some whole cloves of roasted garlic?

Hmm, wonder what could be ripped off (i.e., stolen!) from French cassoulet cooking? Maybe from the SW of France? Hmm ...!

Apples go well with maple syrup, brown sugar, and pork. So far, no mention of apples! Chunks of apple in the beans? I would guess not!

Of course, as Kunz and Kaminsky point out, can't just throw stuff together. At least need some balance. Might need a 'theme' of some kind. Then, there could be more than one good theme. That's one HUGE advantage of the suggestion of Snowangel and Marlene -- it's known to be good!

With some minor editing.

Edited by project (log)

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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I can't remember the source for this and my lack of specifics are probably not going to help anyone... This might might have been Food and Wine, it was some quasi-high-end yuppity foodie magazine I read in a doctor's office last fall, but they had an article about some "New York Chef" who spent a summer workin' as a ranch hand in texas, and who developed a new appreciation for barbecue or some such, and it had some of his barbecue recipes. Most of his info on Q was Orthodox competition-circuit styled BBQ (250 degrees, low & slow, typical rubs & spices, etc), but he had a baked bean recipe that was truly innovative, assuming it works like the pictures. He basically took strips of bacon, like a couple pounds worth, and lined a dutch oven so that the bacon formed a sort of bacon shell, then poured his sweet & spicy beans into that, and folded the bacon over the top so it sealed, then put that in in the pit. What he was left with a few hours later was a sort of a baked bean pie with a shell of crispy bacon. I've been meaning to try it but haven't gotten around to it.

My personal method is to take a couple of cans of pork & beans, drain them, and doctor them with sweated onions & garlic, cinnamon, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, colman's dry mustard, some gumbo file' powder (according to the person who originated this recipe that's the secret ingredient :), turmeric, and whatever sweet tomato-based bbq sauce I have handy, then take some thick-cut bacon and put it in the pit at 250 for an hour or so to "double smoke" it and put on top of the beans, sprinkle w/ more brown sugar, and then put in the hot end of the smoker (maybe 350-ish) for about an hour or so. I've also had good luck using ground garam masala as the foundation for seasoning when I make them vegetarian (using Bush's "vegetarian" baked beans as the base).

Yep. When I hear "baked beans" I associate it with barbecue :)

Edited by JohnRichardson (log)
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The difference between snowangel and I for this recipe is that I do presoak my beans. I just got a new bean pot so these will be on the menu Monday night. I'll take pictures. :biggrin:



Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I've heard that American Heinz baked beans are very different than British Heinz baked beans, but I have no first hand knowledge.

My (openly admitted) cheater baked bean recipe, technically for when I need to provide beans with little effort but actually what I always end up making, is a doctored version. I saute a chopped onion in bacon fat, stir in ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar "until it looks right," and then add a glug of cider vinegar (secret ingredient). Stir in beans, pour into casserole, top with bacon pieces, and bake until thick and unctuous. They get scarfed, even by the "must start with dried beans" folks.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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I've heard that American Heinz baked beans are very different than British Heinz baked beans, but I have no first hand knowledge.

You heard correctly. There is virtually no similarity between the 2, other than there are beans in a can. Same for Canadian versions of Heinz vs. British. I guess it's all what you get used to, but I buy imported British cans for days when I need a quick start or for simple beans on toast.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I started with Alton Browns that includes the traditional ingredients except for Jalapeno's. I modify the method by sauteing the bacon by it self untill it's very crisp. Then saute the onions in the rendered bacon fat. I also add burbon and liquid smoke. This last time I had great suceess with smoked turkey legs. I use the meat to make sausage and keep the bones to make a stock. it worked out great.

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Looking through the thread I see a dominant U.S. influence with a nod to the Southwest.

Sure that is lifting baked beans up a notch, but I wouldn't start there; I'd go back to casoulet recipes from SW France, and use a wide variety of ingredients over several days of preparation: chorizo, prreserved duck or goose, lamb shanks, pork or veal breast, even potatoes. And loads of garlic.

But the final presentation would have that thick crust of bread crumbs that takes several hours and a few peircings to achieve. Now those are great beans to take to the table!

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Wow, what a coincidence, I just made the following recipe today for a client.

This is my go to recipe, simple and delicious.

Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q Baked Beans

Serves 20

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, an Alabama restaurant, has been serving this classic comfort food since 1925.

3 twenty-eight-ounce cans baked beans, preferably Bush’s

1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup Big Bob Gibson Championship Red Sauce

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1. Heat oven to 350°. Combine ingredients in a large, shallow baking dish or a bean pot. Stir to combine. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Stir, and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Serve warm.

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Not Your Boston Baked Beans

Today I made the beans, so I figured I'd provide a step by step process of them :biggrin:

I soak the beans first overnight in a plastic container. I'm using navy beans:


Then gather everything together and strain the beans over a large measuring cup. Gather and chop your jalepenos, onions and bacon.


Toss the bacon, jalepenos and onions into a large dutch oven. When the onions are soft , add the tomato paste and brown sugar and stir it up.



Once that's mixed together, you add the molasses and chipotle sauce and then the beans. . In the meantime, you've added stock to the water from the bean soak to make four cups. In this case, I did have smoked pork stock so I used that. Add a bunch of bourbon to the water mixture and add to the beans.


Let this come to a boil then add cayanne, pepper and salt. At this point, you could cover it with the lid and stick it in the oven at 250. However, I got this cute bean pot from Le Creuset and decided it was a good time to try it out, so I transfered the mixture to it.


Going into the oven:


Coming out of the oven 7 hours later:


Baked Beans:


Yu can turn the heat up or down on this depending on how much you want. I used two jalepenos and three or four shots of the chipotle tabasco. I can't eat really spicy food, but this still has enough of a kick to satisfy my husband and son who love spicy stuff.



Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I can't say that it did Bernaise, and frankly it was a pain to transfer from one to another. The bean pot is potterie stoneware not enamelled cast iron so you can't use it on an open flame. I won't bother next time, but it is pretty! :biggrin:



Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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  • 4 months later...

If you will accept a contribution from "Down Under", this is my own recipe - developed after I fell in love with maple syrup after a visit to Canada some years ago. Maple syrup is available here, but mostly just used for pancakes.

I measure the beans by eye, but I guess the quantity is (in imperial measures) about a pint and a half of pre-cooked beans. Occasionally if I'm in a hurry I use the plain, unflavoured canned beans - any sort works, but I like the big red ones.

The beans, quantity as guessed above

2 cloves of garlic

1 large onion

a few slices of bacon, chopped up; or a ham bone or a pork hock.

1 tablespoon of fat - duck fat is great, to pre-soften the garlic, onion, bacon

3 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

100ml maple syrup (I have used brown sugar, but not as good)

"enough" water or stock to cover.

sometimes a little fresh chili, depending on the guests (I like a lot)

mix it all up and simmer for a while. The mustard seeds add a nice texture.

I often cook a large batch of beans then freeze them in convenient amounts.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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This is the cooks illustrated recipe, as I changed it quite a bit so I hope it's okay to post, the beans turned out the best! the best! They are a deep thick glossy brown, sweet but not too sweet, and have wonderful buoys of latdo poking through the surface. They only needed a little salt at the end.

1 lb ounces lardo cut into 1-inch cubes

6 ounces bacon (2 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 medium onion , chopped fine

1 1/2 cup mild molasses

3 tablespoon mild molasses

1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard

2 1/2 pound dried small white beans rinsed and picked over (I used great northerns)

3 3/4 teaspoons table salt

3 teaspoon cider vinegar

Ground black pepper

pork stock (if you have it, if not, water)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 250 degrees. Add lardo and bacon to big ass Dutch oven; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and most fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cup molasses, mustard, beans, 3 3/4 teaspoons salt, pork stock and water to cover; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Cover pot and set in oven. Bake until beans are tender, about 10 hours (yep I cooked them for 20 hours, but I turned them down to 100F while I was sleeping), stirring once every 2 or 3 hours to prevent the top from over carmelizing . Remove lid and continue to bake until liquid has thickened to syrupy consistency 10 hours longer. Remove beans from oven; stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of molasses, vinegar, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Calipoutine this recipe is truly woth it, and braindead easy, thanks!

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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  • 3 months later...

Bump up.

Recently there was an article in the NYTs about nice things you can find in supermarkets. One item was B & M Boston Baked Beans which the author admired for the traditional method in which they were cooked and called them "not too sweet," or something to that effect.

I disagree, having been brought up on the stuff which I always doctored until I finally decided they were no longer any good. Much too sweet. High fructose corn syrup? The ingredients did not seem all that traditional.

SOOooo, anyway, I had to buy a chunk of Niman's Ranch salt pork for a different recipe and have lots left over, so I figure why not make a pot of baked beans?

If anyone has further musings, including suggestions for using salt pork as opposed to bacon, please illuminate me.

Also might do the brown bread thing if I can find something other than an empty coffee can to use. Any steamed brown bread makers here? (I will conduct searches here and elsewhere, of course.) I own the first edition of Bittman's *How To Cook Everything* which contains a number of errors and omissions. It promises instructions for steaming the bread, but does not deliver.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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If anyone has further musings, including suggestions for using salt pork as opposed to bacon, please illuminate me.

In the North of England where I come from originally, "pickled pork and pease pudding" is delicious. I was delighted to find that it made its way to America, as it appears in "Directions for Cookery in all its Branches" by Miss Leslie (1840)


Soak the pork all night in cold water, and wash and scrape it clean. Put it on early in the day, as it will take a long time to boil, and must boil slowly. Skim it frequently. Boil in a separate pot greens or cabbage to eat with it; also parsnips and potatoes.

Pease pudding is a frequent accompaniment to pickled pork, and is very generally liked. To make a small pudding, you must have ready a quart of dried split pease, which have been soaked all night in cold water. Tie them in a cloth, (leaving room for them to swell,) and boil them slowly till they are tender. Drain them, and rub them through a cullender or a sieve into a deep dish; season them with pepper and salt, and mix with them an ounce of butter, and two beaten eggs. Beat all well together till thoroughly mixed. Dip a clean cloth in hot water, sprinkle it with flour, and put the pudding into it. Tie it up very tightly, leaving a small space between the mixture and the tying, (as the pudding will still swell a little,) and boil it an hour longer. Send it to table and eat it with the pork.

You may make a pease pudding in a plain and less delicate way, by simply seasoning the pease with pepper and salt, (having first soaked them well,) tying them in a cloth, and putting them to boil in the same pot with the pork, taking care to make the string very tight, so that the water may not get in. When all is done, and you turn out the pudding, cut it into thick slices and lay it round the pork.

Pickled pork is frequently accompanied by dried beans and hominy

The "plain and less delicate" way is the way I cook it - it seems a silly idea to boil a big lump of pork in one pot and a big lump of peas pud in another, and then you dont get the pork flavour through the peas.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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