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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: 6
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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
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Specialized Hardware

  • Cast-iron Dutch oven
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 16 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 6


  • Heat oven to 250ºF.
  • Place the beans in a large plastic container and add enough cold water to just submerge the beans. Soak overnight.
  • Place a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat and stir in the bacon, onion, and jalapenos 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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