Written by Katherine Sasser.
Photos by Elizabeth McLaurin.
Just in time for summer, my Shortcut Maple Baked Beans are everything you want in a side dish: smoky bacon undertones, sticky maple sweetness, and a touch of late heat that lingers and balances it all together.
Shortcut Maple Baked Beans also happen to be the perfect compliment to whatever your summer menu holds.
Hot dogs? Great.
The best news? You can grab the ingredients on your way to the lake (or wherever you will be keeping cool), whip these up in less than thirty minutes, and serve them for dinner right out of the pot.
What is the shortcut? Instead of cooking dried beans (which, yes, does in fact take a long time), we are going to start with canned beans. The magic happens when we lay down a flavor foundation of bacon and onions, then simmer together a sticky sweet hot yummy sauce, and add it all together at the end.
My family and I enjoyed these beans last week alongside grilled pork tenderloin, and at the end of the meal one of my daughters said, “I bet these beans would taste really good on a hot dog.” The next evening we tested out her idea with our leftover beans, and she was right. A scoop of smoky sweet beans on top of a grilled hot dog tastes like summer on a bun.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy these beans. Happy Summer!
Shortcut Baked Beans
yield: 2 quarts, 8 servings
The “shortcut” part of this recipe is that we are not, in fact, cooking our own beans. Canned beans mixed with an amazing base of flavors yields results that are both fast and flavorful!
5 oz applewood smoked bacon, chopped (approximately 5-6 slices)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup medium amber pure maple syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 14-oz can (2 cups) chicken broth
4 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed Kosher salt
In a large saucepan, heat the bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered. You want to cook the bacon, but not brown it. This will take about 5 minutes once the pan is heated.
To the bacon and rendered fat, add the chopped onion and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Cook until the onion is translucent and no longer raw, but not brown. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
While the onion is cooking, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, Sriracha, fresh ginger, chicken broth, and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer uncovered for 6 minutes.
Add the sauce and the beans to the bacon and onion mixture. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened to your liking. If the beans become too thick, just add a little water until they recover their sauciness.
Note: These are great when served immediately. They are vastly improved when you make them a day ahead to allow the flavors to meld. Store covered in the fridge.