Years ago we tasted the best baked beans with friends Kevin and Melissa. Kevin’s grandma’s baked bean recipe, which is a spin on Carolina Barbecue Beans using three kinds of beans: baked beans in tomato sauce, red kidney beans and green lima beans are terrific. Green lima beans? Yes! This three bean combo is amazing. Grandma also tossed in bacon and cheese for good measure.
Carolina Barbeque Bean recipes usually call for a can of pork and beans, which in the U.S. are made with brown sugar and molasses, resulting in a sweeter sauce. Grandma’s recipe specifically called for baked beans in tomato sauce, which is a total British thing.
While baked beans are usually a side dish with barbecue in the United States, in the United Kingdom baked beans are served for breakfast. A full English breakfast is bacon and eggs usually accompanied by beans, toast, grilled tomato, mushrooms, and black pudding, which is a sausage made with blood. [Confession: While traveling in the UK none of us tried the black pudding, but we did eat haggis in Scotland!]
I don’t know what brand of beans Kevin’s grandma preferred, so to finalize this recipe we did a taste comparison of Heinz Beanz in Tomato Sauce from the U.K. (ordered on Amazon) and Van Kamp’s Pork and Beans which is also in a tomato sauce. Both were good! I think the Van Kamp’s was a tad sweeter than the Heinz, but since I had six cans of Heinz, I used those for this recipe.
Because I can never leave well enough alone, I added jalapeño ketchup, strawberry balsamic and chipotles in adobo sauce to give it a touch of heat and smokiness.
The freshly grated parmesan cheese on the top gives the beans a nice, crunchy cheese crust, but you can leave it out if you don’t have parmesan or don’t particularly want a crunchy cheese crust on your beans.
These beans are even better the next day, which makes them perfect for entertaining. Summer barbecuing (or breakfast?) … here we come!
4 slices thick cut bacon
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or Italian seasonings
1 15-oz. can baked beans in tomato sauce
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans, drained but not rinsed
1 15-oz. can green lima beans, drained but not rinsed
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup jalapeño or regular ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon strawberry or regular balsamic
1 Chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the can — add more of the sauce if you want more smokiness and heat)
1 ½ cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (Optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a skillet, fry the bacon until crisp, remove to a paper towel to drain, then crumble. If necessary, drain the bacon grease from the skillet, leaving about two tablespoons to sauté the onion. Combine the onion and seasonings and sauté over medium heat until softened. Remove from heat and stir in the crumbled bacon.
Combine all the ingredients, except the Parmesan cheese, in a Dutch oven or an oven safe skillet or casserole dish and top with the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, until heated through hot and bubbly, about 30-45 minutes.
Best Beans ever!