I’ve been eating my mama’s baked beans every summer since I can remember. Laced with ketchup, bacon, diced celery and onion, never was there a more perfect partner for Dad’s barbecue chicken thighs (or really anything grilled).
“So how did you come up with these?” I asked Mom a few weeks ago when I finally got around to learning how to make them.
“It’s your mom’s recipe,” Dad replied, smiling proudly.
“No, I think I got it mostly off the Great Northern beans can,” Mom deadpanned.
This prompted a somewhat lengthy discussion of recipes from a jar/can/box, which Mom and I agree have become far too underrated among the younger generation of foodies. The truth is, big brands have big test kitchen budgets, meaning any recipe you get from a can or jar has likely been tested extensively and should be reliable.
Not only that, but this is one of few recipes in the world I would truly consider fool-proof. There’s very little prep and no pre-cooking required. Everything goes into one dish and it bakes for about 45 minutes until the beans are bubbling and the bacon is crisp. If you want more bacon, add more. If you like it sweeter, bump up the brown sugar. If you prefer thicker baked beans, cut back on the ketchup. In other words, don’t overthink this one. It’s kind of a non-recipe.
Happy 4th, guys. <3
Mama’s (Great Northern’s) baked beans
2 cans Great Northern white beans
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion (about 1/2 a medium onion)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery (about 1 large stalk)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
Black pepper, to taste
3 strips smoked bacon, cut into lardons
Method: Preheat the oven to 375F. Empty the contents of both cans into an 8″ by 8″ baking dish. Add the onion, celery, ketchup, brown sugar and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
Top the beans with the bacon pieces, and slide the dish into the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes until the beans are bubbling and the bacon is crisp and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.