Baked Beans

Chef Martin Draluck's slow-cooked pinto beans with holy trinity (onions, bell peppers and celery) and bacon
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)
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My favorite thing on the Dem Bones menu, other than the sweet potato pie from 27th Street Bakery, has to be my grandpa’s slow-cooked beans. I don’t know his recipe specifically but over the years, I’ve found something that brings my memories close. Make sure to stir periodically so the beans don’t stick to the bottom.


In a large bowl, combine the beans and thyme. Pour in the 4 cups water, cover the bowl, and let the beans soak for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.


Place the bacon in a large saucepan, then place over medium heat. After the bacon begins to sizzle, cook until it has rendered most of its fat and is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, bell peppers and onions, increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, 2 minutes more.


Uncover the beans and pour them into the pot, including the soaking liquid and thyme. Pour in the chicken stock, ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, prepared mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, chile flakes, mustard seeds, garlic powder, cumin seeds and pepper. Bring the liquid to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook the beans, stirring occasionally to prevent anything burning, until the beans are tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened, 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes.


Remove the pot from the heat and season the beans with salt. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Or, preferably, let cool completely and refrigerate for at least 1 day before reheating and serving.