My Recipe Box

Spicy Red-Eye Baked Beans


Serves eight to ten.

Yields about 2 quarts.

  • To learn more, read:
    Baked Beans Are Back
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 93

The addition of the coffee, for which the recipe is named, deepens the other flavors in the beans.

  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups lower-salt beef broth
  • 1 meaty smoked ham hock
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup mild molasses, such as Grandma's Original
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbs. bourbon (optional)
  • Kosher salt

Don't have time to soak the beans overnight?
Put them in a 4-quart saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and soak for 2 hours. Drain the beans and continue with the recipe.

Sort through the beans to make sure there are no little stones and then put them in a large bowl or pot. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 2 inches and let soak overnight. Drain the beans well, tilting the colander instead of shaking it to gently extract the water and protect the beans' skins.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.

Melt the butter in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the chile powders, cumin, allspice, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and ham hock. Stir to combine. Add the beans and bring just to a simmer. Cover and bake until the beans are easy to bite into but still a little mealy in texture, 45 to 60 minutes.

Stir in the coffee, molasses, ketchup, Worcestershire, and oregano. Bake, uncovered, until the beans are fully tender, 30 to 60 minutes more. Cool to room temperature. Discard the oregano stems and the skin from the ham hock. Cut the meat off the bone and chop. Add the meat to the beans and discard the bone. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To finish, bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced to the consistency of thin gravy, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn, 40 to 60 minutes. Stir in the bourbon (if using) and season the beans to taste with salt and pepper.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 410, Fat (kcal): 16, Fat Calories (g): 140, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 26, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6, Carbohydrates (mg): 41, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1.5, Sodium (g): 350, Cholesterol (g): 60, Fiber (g): 10,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Delicious! I didn't have time to let the beans sit over night and continued with the recipe getting great results.

Man-this recipe is fabulous! Doubled it with addition of 1/2 lb black eyed peas&1/2 lb butterbeans(adjust accordingly).I also used leftover bbque spareribs for a different flavor. Serve with sourdough biscuits&roasted corn on the cob.This will become a new barbeque favorite.

We enjoyed these, but they were an awful lot of trouble. I can say I'd be willing to make them again, but it would have to be for a special occasion.

I will never eat store bought beans out of a can again. This recipe is that good. I followed the recipe exactly and, yes, it does take time to make but it is so worth it. The flavor is complex, not overly sweet and packs a little heat from the chile powders. I like spice so it was not too spicy at all for me. The beans definitely need to sit in the fridge overnight to allow for full flavor development.

I loved this recipe - it was delicious. Maybe the best baked beans I've ever eaten, though I admit, it takes some work and it is a bit on the robust side for flavor. My super-conservative mother would make a face and say "too spicy!". That said, it is definitely worth the effort. You can use a ham bone if you have one left over from a holiday ham in this (I did) and it will also be very good, maybe a little sweeter than if you use a ham hock. The second cooking after a night in the fridge is essential for flavor development. If you don't do this, but you try the beans on day one, the spice will put the hair up on the back of your neck. By the next day, the beans have absorbed some of it, taken the edge off, and melded with the spice to create a creamy, beany goodness of flavor. Delicious!

Oh. WOW!!! This was SO good! I'm not usually a fan of baked beans-they tend to be either too mushy/dried out/cloyingly sweet/too ketchupy, etc. The flavors of these beans are so complex, and so intense! The beans came out at just the right texture, too. I used the full amount of chile powder called for, and like the previous reviewer, did not find the heat overwhelming by any means. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter-the only change I made was using a ham bone (left over in my freezer from a ham roast). This recipe is time consuming and labor intensive, but absolutely worth it.

This recipe was really good, in addition to the ham hock I also added about 6 pieces of cooked smoked bacon cut up. Although I cooked it in the morning and served it 6 hours later and did not let it sit over night the flavors were fantastic. This dish was not hot in spice but in flavor and I used the 2 tsp of each ancho and chipotle. Great with ribs and sweet corn!

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