Recipe: Cider and Bacon Baked Beans

Cider and Bacon Baked Beans


1 lb. dry Jacob’s Cattle beans
10 oz. thick-cut bacon, medium diced (8 slices)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 Tbs. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and small diced (7-1/2 oz.)
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp ground marjoram
2 tsp. cider vinegar (optional)

Soak beans overnight. Drain the beans well, tilting the colander instead of shaking it to gently extract the water and protect the bean’s skins.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.
Cook the bacon in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and with a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a small bowl. Pour off the fat, reserving 3 Tbs.

Set the pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 7 minutes. Add the broth, mustard, nutmeg, cloves, and 1 tsp. pepper. Stir to combine. Add the beans and bring just to a simmer over medium-high heat. 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 reserved bacon and the apple, cider, maple syrup, ketchup, and marjoram, and bake, uncovered, until the beans are fully tender, 30 to 60 minutes more. Cool to room temperature, 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 vinegar (if using) and season the beans to taste with salt and pepper.