The history of baked beans is a long and interesting one, tracing back to the Native Americans who first cultivated beans and used them as a main source of protein. They would cook the beans with various meats and vegetables, resulting in a hearty and nutritious meal that could be easily stored.
In the 17th century, baked beans became popular in England, where they were traditionally made with navy beans, molasses, and bacon. The dish quickly made its way back to the American colonies, where it became a beloved comfort food. During the Civil War, baked beans were a popular food for soldiers due to their long shelf life and high nutritional value.
Today, baked beans remain a beloved dish in many parts of the world. They are often served as a side dish at barbecues and picnics and are a staple in many households. Whether you prefer them sweet and tangy or savory and smoky, baked beans are a delicious and nutritious part of our culinary heritage.
PREPARATION: 2 hours – makes 12 servings
EQUIPMENT: large sauté skillet with cover
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ pound bacon crisp – half chopped, half in strips or ham hocks
- 1 Spanish or yellow onion diced.
- 1 small jalapeno seeded and diced.
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic minced.
- ½ cup Pepsi (diet or regular)
- 1 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup packed brown sugar.
- 1 can (28 oz) Navy beans, liquid drained.
- 1 can (28 oz) cannellini beans liquid drained.
- 1 can (28 oz) light red kidney beans liquid drained.
- 1 can (28 oz) of Great Northern white beans
NOTE: You can use one can of beans or whatever you want or have.
Preheat the oven to 350ᵒF.
Preheat the sauté skillet over medium heat to 275ᵒF. Add the unsalted butter to the pan and cook the bacon until almost crisp. Butter provides extra flavor to the dish. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.
Drain the excess grease from the pan leaving just enough to sauté the onion, jalapeno, and garlic over medium heat 275ᵒF until they begin to caramelize about 7 to 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of Pepsi (no Coke) and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
Add the ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, mix well then stir in the brown sugar. Add ½ the bacon chopped. Continue to cook over medium heat 275ᵒF until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. Usually about 15 minutes. Add the beans and mix well.
Place skillet in 350ᵒF oven uncovered and bake for one hour. Top with crisp bacon strips for the last 10 minutes.
Allow it to cool and serve. Typically, I like to prepare this the day before a family event. It is always better the second day.