My grandmother (hi!) makes the best baked beans ever. They even won first place in the fake bacon category at a bacon cooking contest, so you can see why every so often I get a severe craving for them. (I believe it would have taken overall first if the judges didn’t think it would be too embarrassing for the real bacon people) I am going to tell you how to make them too, so you can share this gift/curse. You can use real bacon if you so choose.
First off, you are going to need a lot of beans. I like to use black beans, kidney beans, butter beans, pinto beans, white beans, and a big can of already baked beans; in whatever proportion I am feeling like at the time. This is where things got exciting for me here; usually I use canned beans because…well I’m lazy and not wallowing in time, but here they don’t really have canned beans. Luckily I am wallowing in a bit more time and so tried for the first time to soak dried beans. I let them sit overnight in the fridge and they about doubled in size, then I cooked them for a few hours. This is actually easy and I highly recommend it as the beans have SO much more texture and flavor. What I do not recommend, my one mistake, is trying to do all the beans at the same time because—as I sort of realized but ignored because we didn’t have enough pots—some need more time to cook than others.
The rest is easy (or if you took the canned route, everything it easy). Fry up maybe 8 slices of some form of bacon until crisp, then set aside. Chop up about half an onion or more, depending on how many beans you’ve got, and fry it in the bacon-y oil/fat until limp. To the limp onions add:
½ cup apple cider vinegar (or a little less regular vinegar, in a pinch)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry mustard (optional, I often don’t have any)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. While it’s doing that, you should mix all of your beans together in a big baking dish (or two). You should drain all of them before hand except the baked beans. Also preheat your oven to 350 F.
Now pour the hot onion mixture over your beans and crumble in the bacon. Sometimes here I add in molasses or maybe cumin or whatever. I am a spice fiend, I admit it. Cover the dish with foil and put it in the over for about an hour. When you check then they should be a bit bubbly, but not to soupy. If they are soupy, stir them and let them cook without the foil for a little bit, but don’t dry them out. Once done, try to restrain yourself from eating them all in one sitting because they are so delicious. They keep well in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy!
Tomorrow we are going go try to get my visa extended, so I’m sure we’ll have all sorts of trials and tribulations with bureaucracy stories for you.