Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans: A Homestyle Classic

Grandma Brown's Baked Beans
Prep. time:
240 min
8 dishes

Hey there, fellow foodies! Today, I’m sharing a recipe that’s close to my heart – Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans. This dish isn’t just a staple at our family gatherings; it’s a warm hug from the past. Let’s dive into its comforting embrace, shall we?

This recipe has been passed down in my family for generations, originating from (you guessed it!) Grandma Brown. She was known for her hearty, simple cooking that filled both the stomach and soul. The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity and the magic of slow cooking.

Serving Size & Prep Info

This recipe serves about 6-8 people, making it perfect for family dinners or small gatherings. Preparation is a breeze, taking about 15 minutes, and the cooking time is about 4 hours. But trust me, it’s worth the wait! Difficulty-wise, it’s definitely easy-medium.

Ingredients for Grandma Brown's Baked Beans

  • · 2 cans (16 oz each) of navy beans: Rich in fiber and protein, they're the heart of the dish.
  • · 1/2 cup of molasses: For that deep, sweet flavor.
  • · 1/4 cup brown sugar: Adds a little extra sweetness.
  • · 1/4 cup ketchup: For tanginess.
  • · 1 medium onion, chopped: It brings a subtle sharpness.
  • · 4 strips of bacon, chopped (optional): For a smoky, rich flavor.
  • · 1 tablespoon dry mustard: It adds a bit of spice.
  • · Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Grandma Brown's Baked Beans?

  1. Preheat and Prep: Start by preheating your oven to 325°F (165°C). This slow and steady temperature is perfect for baking the beans to perfection.
  2. Bean Prep: Drain and rinse your canned navy beans. If you're feeling adventurous and have the time, you can use dried beans instead. Just remember to soak them overnight and boil them until tender before using.
  3. Mix the Magic: In a large mixing bowl, combine the molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, dry mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a good stir until everything is well mixed. This is your flavor base – the soul of the dish!
  4. Onion Time: Chop your onion. You don't need perfect dices here; rough chops bring out a rustic feel that's just right for this homestyle dish.
  5. Layering It Up: In a deep baking dish, start by laying half of the beans. Then, sprinkle half of your chopped onions and half of the chopped bacon (if using) over them. Repeat the layers with the remaining beans, onions, and bacon.
  6. Pour and Stir: Pour your molasses mixture over the layered beans. Use a spoon to gently stir, ensuring the beans are evenly coated with the sweet and tangy sauce.
  7. Bake to Perfection: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil or a lid if you have one. Pop it in the oven and let it bake for about 3-4 hours. The key here is patience – the longer it cooks, the more the flavors meld together.
  8. The Final Touch: About 30 minutes before the end of baking, remove the cover to allow the top to brown and the sauce to thicken. Keep an eye on it to prevent burning.
  9. Rest and Serve: Once done, take the dish out of the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the beans to settle and the sauce to thicken a bit more.
  10. Garnish and Enjoy: Sprinkle some chopped parsley for a fresh contrast, and serve warm. These beans go great with a slice of crusty bread or as a side to your main dish.

Nutrition Advantages

  • Beans are a powerhouse of nutrition. They’re packed with fiber, which is great for digestive health, and they’re a fantastic source of plant-based protein.
  •  Plus, this dish is relatively low in fat, especially if you opt for a leaner cut of bacon or skip it altogether.

Dietary Alternatives

  • For vegetarians, simply skip the bacon or use a plant-based alternative.
  •  If you’re watching your sugar intake, reduce the brown sugar or substitute it with a sweetener like stevia.

Tips for Elevating the Dish

  • Customize the Flavor: Feel free to play around with the seasonings. Add a dash of paprika or a bit of garlic powder for an extra kick.
  • Slow Cooker Magic: If you have a slow cooker, use it! Letting the beans cook on low for 6-8 hours makes them incredibly flavorful.
  • Add-Ins Galore: Try adding diced bell peppers or a bit of jalapeño for a spicy twist.
  • For a Smoky Twist: If you’re skipping the bacon, a dash of liquid smoke can do wonders.
  • Garnish and Serve: Sprinkle some fresh parsley on top before serving for a pop of color and freshness.

Remember, cooking is all about making it your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment and add your personal touch to Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans. Enjoy the process, and let the comforting aromas fill your kitchen. Happy cooking! 🍲👩‍🍳

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