It’s childish, I know. But beans always remind me of the saying, “Beans, beans, a magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot!”. I always sang it at the dinner table when my mother baked beans. Even though I don’t sing it as loudly or off key as I once did, I’m sure my mother would be horrified to know I still sing the song.
Joe isn’t a fan of beans so I rarely make them anymore. However, after making this baked beans recipe from Kim O’Donnell … well, I might just have to make them more often. The beans turned out spicy and sweet, so flavorful and satisfying.
My favorite baked beans always contain molasses. There’s something about the dark, rich flavor it imparts which makes even the most lackluster beans into a sacred meal. Fortunately, Kim’s recipe utilizes molasses and takes the beans to a new level with the addition of spicy and smoky chipotle peppers.
I tweaked the recipe slightly based on the ingredients on hand. I used pinto beans which worked perfectly, as well as ketchup in place of marinara sauce. When adding the molasses, I went closer to 1/3 cup. Since I didn’t have any chipotle peppers, I replaced the chipotles and chili powder with 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper.
For anyone vegetarian, simply omit the bacon. Since chipotle peppers are smoky and provide more than enough extra flavor.
I reserved 1/3 of the bacon for scattering across the top of the beans before placing into the oven. As Kim notes, use the leftover bean water to thin out the beans before baking. I like my baked beans to be thick so I only used about 1/2-2/3 cup of the water.
The beans turned out amazing. The ground chipotle added plenty of spice to the beans – if you are fearful of spicy foods, maybe begin with only 1/2 teaspoon or omit entirely. I served the beans as the main dish (much to Joe’s disappointment) along with gingered carrots. The sweetness of the carrots paired nicely with the beans and reduced the overall spicy heat.
I couldn’t stop eating the beans. I kept nibbling away at them long after dinner had come and gone. The next day, I ate the reheated beans on saltine crackers for lunch, a childhood favorite.
More baked bean recipe ideas:
Hot and Smoky Baked Beans – Smitten Kitchen
Vegetarian Baked Beans – Ellie May
Crockpot Boston Baked Beans – A Year of Slow Cooking
Stove-top Baked Beans – Simply Recipes