beansThe La Colombe 4th of July Series: During this week, we’ll be posting three interlocking recipes, designed for backyard grilling and outdoor eating.

Recipe Two: Coffee Baked Barbecue Beans
Serves: 6 or so
Coffee: Nizza

Colonial New England may be the home of the Boston baked bean, but using barbecue sauce ingredients (including mustard for tang and molasses as a sweetener) seemed a better fit for the biggest grill holiday of the year. And adding the coffee is just something we do around here.

2 cups coffee, La Colombe Nizza
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine ground black pepper

Combine, and then set aside. This is your “wet” mix.

6 thick slices bacon, cut widthwise into 1/2-inch strips
2 cups diced onion
4 cans Navy beans, drained (15 ounces each)

Preheat oven to 325 °F.

In a Dutch oven (or some other heavy-bottomed pot with a lid), render the bacon until crisp over medium heat. Add the onion, and sweat in the bacon fat until the onions just wilt, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the wet mix, and bring to a simmer until flavors marry, while occasionally stirring, at least 10 minutes. Add the beans, stirring to incorporate all ingredients, and return to a simmer. Cover pot, and place in hot oven until the beans absorb the liquid and turn a deep reddish brown color, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. (Check halfway through to make sure the beans aren’t cooking too quickly and getting too dry: At midpoint, they should still be gently simmering.)

Remove the pot from the oven, leaving the lid in place, and transfer to stovetop. Let stand, covered for 30 minutes before stirring to serve. (Ripping hot beans will smash when stirred.)

Like anything with a long, slow cooking time and several layers of ingredient flavors, these are best made in advance, even by a day.

When ready to serve, the taste should be right where you want it, so no need to fine-tune the flavor with salt and pepper or balance it with extra sugar and vinegar. But you can adjust the consistency by adding a shot of bourbon or even more coffee.

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