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Course: Sides & Salads
Keyword: Comfort Food, Game Day, Make-Ahead, Sides, Summer, The Once and Future Beans

The Once and Future Beans

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 16 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Sweet, hot, and savory, these twice-cooked baked beans are made extra tender thanks to low and slow cooking on the stovetop and in the oven.
This application riffs on pork-and-beans and classic Boston baked beans. The molasses helps to keep the cooked beans whole and distinct, while jalepenos and cayenne give them just enough kick.
This recipe first appeared in Season 3 of Good Eats.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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  • 1 pound dried Great Northern beans
  • 1 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon urfa biber (optional but strongly suggested)

Specialized Hardware

Cast-iron Dutch oven
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 16 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 10 to 12 servings


  • Place the beans in a large plastic container and add enough cold water to just submerge the beans. Soak overnight.
  • Heat oven to 250ºF.
  • Place a cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat and stir in the bacon, onion, and jalapeños until enough fat has rendered from the bacon to soften the onions, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, dark brown sugar, and molasses.
  • Drain the beans and reserve the soaking liquid. Add the drained beans to the Dutch oven. Place the soaking liquid in a measuring cup and add enough vegetable broth to equal 4 cups of liquid. Add the liquid to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Give them a stir and cover with the lid. Place the Dutch oven in the oven until the beans are tender, 6 to 8 hours.
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