Baked Beans

April 15, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 1/2 pound cranberry, pinto or cannellini beans, soaked overnight
  • Salt
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 small onion, diced (keep the ends for the beans)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat (you can also use oil or butter)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 pinch chipotle powder (optional)
  • 2 cups chopped canned tomatoes (I use tetra pack)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
In This Recipe
  1. Cover the beans by at least an inch with cold water. Add a few pinches of salt and the thyme, garlic and onion ends and simmer until tender, about an hour.
  2. When the beans are close to being done, heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Using a heavy, shallow ovenproof pan sauté the onion in the bacon fat over medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook for another minute. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer gently for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly.
  3. Stir the beans and about 1/2 cup of their cooking water into the sauce in the pan. Cover the pan and put it in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, until the beans are very soft and the sauce has thickened a bit.
  4. Uncover the pan and cook until the sauce is quite dry, and the edges of the pan are slightly caramelized, another 20 to 30 minutes.

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I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.