Flavorful Baked Beans

I am a huge fan of the Barefoot Contessa and think her cookbooks are a must for anyone who is a home cook. But we all like to tweke to our own tastes and I did to create this side dish for a friend’s Thanksgiving dinner. It was a huge hit!


  • 2 lbs dry light red kidney beans
  • 2 large onions, cut into thick slices (approx 1”)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 1-½ dark amber maple syrup
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Chinese chili garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tspn fresh lemon juice (basically a good squeeze from ½ lemon, because I put lemon in everything to brighten flavor)
  • ⅛ tspn dry English mustard
  • 2 tspn kosher salt
  • 1 lbs smoked bacon, cubed


  • Extra large bowl
  • Stock pot
  • Medium saucepan
  • 7 quart Dutch oven
  • Colander
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Wooden spoons
  • Measuring cups and spoons


  1. Put beans into large bowl or pot, cover with cold water and cover with plastic. Make sure there is plenty of room for the beans to ‘grow’ and at least 3 inches of water above the beans. Refrigerate 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse beans.
  2. In large pot - I use a stock pot - place 4 quarts of cold water, the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and beans, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes, until tender. Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid.
  3. Combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, chili garlic paste, ginger, lemon juice, mustard, salt and 3 cups of the cooking liquid. Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for 6 minutes.
  4. Put the beans into a 7 quart Dutch oven and mix in half the bacon. Lay the rest of the bacon on top like a crust, then pour the sauce over the entire pot.
  5. Put pot into hot 225°F oven and bake for 6 hours (or up to 8 hours if you are leaving the house). Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving.

What you should know

Need to allot for: The beans need to be soaked overnight. The cooking process includes baking for at least 6 hours.

Re: Flavorful Baked Beans

For all of you who have not tried Jean’s beans, I encourage you to do so. I have had the privilege and they are awesome. You’ve got to try this recipe!

Re: Flavorful Baked Beans

At a Thanksgiving dinner last night, our host made this dish of beans. They are out of this world! Nice one Jean!

Re: Flavorful Baked Beans