This recipe makes, in our opinion, the most outrageously delicious baked beans in the world. They cook all day in the oven, perfuming your house with their amazing aroma. Serve to a crowd and you’ll find even people who aren’t big baked bean fans go back for seconds. You may just catch yourself sneaking some for breakfast.
Maple Baked Merlot Beans
By Amy Maltzan, adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
Makes 8 servings1 pound dried Merlot beans (or try substituting Jacob’s Cattle Beans) 2 quarts water 1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges 1 bay leaf 6 whole black peppercorns ¾ cup pure maple syrup ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed ½ cup ketchup 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 1 teaspoon kosher salt 5 ounces bacon, thickly sliced
Place beans in a large bowl, cover with 1 inch of water and let soak overnight.
The next morning, drain and rinse the beans and place in a large pot with 2 quarts of water, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, then lower heat and simmer until tender, 30-50 minutes. Drain the mixture, reserving the cooking liquid.
Preheat oven to 225°. In a small saucepan, whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, ginger, salt and 1½ cups of the bean cooking liquid (keep the remaining liquid for now). Bring to a simmer, cooking over medium heat for 6 minutes.
Transfer bean mixture to a large ovenproof pot, stir in half the bacon and arrange the rest on top. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the beans and bacon, cover pot with lid and bake for 6-8 hours. Check occasionally and add more bean cooking liquid by the ½ cupful if the mixture is getting too dry. You can remove the lid toward the end of the cooking time to thicken the sauce.
Discard bay leaf and serve hot.
Amy Maltzan is an avid cook, gardener and farmers’ market shopper. She blogs about seasonal home cooking at eggsonsunday.wordpress.com.
This recipe originally appeared in our Winter 2013 issue