Recipe Detail

Sharon's Baked Beans

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Number of Servings:


  1. 3 cups - dried beans (can be all navy beans or combination of navy, pinto and anasazi)
  2. 2 - bay leaves
  3. 1/2 pounds - bacon chopped, optional
  4. 2 - cooking onions chopped
  5. 1/2 cups - dark rum not optional
  6. 3 teaspoons - dry mustard
  7. 1/2 cups - molasses (not blackstrap)
  8. 1/2 cups - ketchup
  9. 3 cloves - garlic minced
  10. 1 teaspoons - salt
  11. - black pepper to taste


Note: Do NOT add salt until beans have reached soft stage; trust me on this, the beans do NOT soften if the salt is put in too early.

Put 3 cups of dried beans into a large heavy pot, cover with 3–4 times the amount of water, and soak overnight. Drain and rinse well.

In the same large pot, cover the soaked beans with water, put two bay leaves in with them and simmer for half an hour. Drain, rinse well, and discard the bay leaves. OK – if you’re wondering why all the draining and rinsing - by doing that you remove the cause of the ‘socially unacceptable behaviour’ that sometimes happens when you eat beans.

Meanwhile, if using bacon, fry the bacon and drain off all of the grease. Wipe the pan and with a small amount of olive oil, sauté the onions and garlic, until just opaque, do not let the garlic brown or it will be bitter. Add to beans.

Add all remaining ingredients (except salt) to pot and mix well. Add water until the beans are covered and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer slowly, covered, for three hours or until beans are tender. (The test for ‘doneness’ is to see if you can crush one against the roof of your mouth with your tongue). Then, and only then, add salt to taste.

Alternately, you can put the pot in the oven, covered, and on low heat (325 degrees F or 165 Celsius) cook for 3 hours. This is the preferred method if things have a tendency to stick in your pot. My favorite pot is porcelain lined cast iron.

Either way, top of stove or in the oven, stir every half hour or so and check water levels. You want the beans to have some sauce but not watery. If they are too watery, just take the lid off for a while and continue cooking.

As I mentioned, these can be frozen. I put one meal’s worth in a heavy duty Ziploc bag, squeeze all the air out and seal. I have no idea how long you can leave them frozen, they disappear pretty quickly around here.


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