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Miss Hilda's Baked Beans

Miss Hilda's Baked Beans

If you don't have time to soak the beans overnight, do a quick soak.  Add the beans to a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and allow them to sit for 1 hour.  Drain the beans, discard the liquid, and proceed with the recipe.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours plus time for soaking beans overnight
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 pound dried navy beans, picked over and soaked overnight in water to cover
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups water
  • Chicken broth, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound salt pork, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • 4 ounces chopped bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

  • Drain the beans and put them in a pot with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, the salt, and bay leaves. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.  If there isn't enough cooking liquid remaining, add chicken broth so that you have 1 1/2 cups total reserved.

  • Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the salt pork and bacon and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the ketchup, reserved cooking liquid, onions, celery, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon cayenne. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the beans and stir gently to mix. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  • Transfer the beans to the oven and bake for 1 hour.  Stir the beans and add the brown sugar and addtional chicken broth if needed, 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue to cook 1 hour longer until the beans are very tender. Remove from the oven and serve hot. Remove the bay leaves before serving.