These beans are a cross between Texas style barbecued beans and New England baked beans. They don’t have the ground beef typical of Texas, but are spicier and less sweet than the New England tradition. The beans can be made in either a vegan or a carnivore’s version. They are wonderful as a side dish to almost any cookout food, but have enough depth of flavor to serve as the main attraction with additions like crusty bread, avocado, a fried egg, or even just tossed with some leftover brown rice. They also reheat and freeze beautifully so it is worth making a big batch.
1 lb. best quality pinto or similar bean (in the ones pictured I used Rancho Gordo‘s King City Pinks), soaked for a few hours or overnight
1 or 2 pieces of thick cut bacon (or 1-2 oz. or guanciale, if you weirdly happen to have it as I did) cut into medium dice (about ⅓”) – OPTIONAL
1 T. of neutral oil (safflower, canola, or vegetable) NOTE: Use 2 T. oil if not using bacon
1 small or ½ large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small or ½ large green pepper, finely diced
1 (or more) jalapeño peppers, finely diced (feel free to substitute Fresno or other hotter chiles if you prefer more heat)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1-3 cups water (amount needed to ensure that beans are submerged in at least 1 ½ inches in liquid)
¼ cup of ketchup
1-2 T. mustard (Coleman’s English if you have it, but you can use anything you have on hand)
2 T. dark brown sugar
1 T. apple cider vinegar (feel free to substitute any vinegar you like if you don’t have apple cider)
1 T. hot sauce
2 t. smoked paprika or your favorite chili powder
salt to taste
- Soak the beans, if you have time, for at least 3 hours or overnight. If you don’t remember to do this, don’t worry, it will just take longer for the beans to cook and they will probably need added liquid (hot water) during cooking.
- Drain the beans.
- In a large oven-proof pot or pan big enough to hold the whole dish, add the oil and the bacon, if using. If using bacon, cook slowly over medium low heat to render as much fat as possible from the meat. Remove the diced pieces from the pan when they are cooked. If not using meat, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the diced onions to the pan and sauté until just starting to turn opaque.
- Add the garlic, green pepper, and jalapeño and sauté for a minute or so.
- Add the chicken stock, beans, and water to cover.
- Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes on the stove top on low to medium heat. Just high enough to keep the beans bubbling and so they begin to soften. Add hot water if the top begins to look dry.
- Preheat the oven to 300° F.
- Add all the other ingredients to the pot, except the salt: ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, hot sauce and smoked paprika or chili powder, as well as the reserved bacon, if using, and stir gently to distribute throughout.
- Cover the pot and bake for 2 ½ hours. Check for doneness and add salt at this point (whether or not they are fully done). If the beans are fully cooked and have absorbed the flavors, you can take them out and let them rest for at least 15 minutes (or longer if you want) before serving. If they are a little too liquid for your taste, remove the top and bake uncovered for another 15-30 minutes. If they are not fully cooked when you check at 2 ½ hours, return to the oven and check every 20 minutes or so until they are done. (Depending on their age and if they were soaked before cooking, beans can take up to 4 hours in the oven).
This is also a great recipe to change up the flavorings, heat and sweetness level to suit your own taste!