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Though they’re on hold for now, potlucks have historically been a large part of gatherings, especially across the South. Author and journalist Toni Tipton-Martin brings this to light beautifully with her award-winning cookbook Jubilee. Here’s her recipe for baked beans, which is sure to become your new go-to.
6 slices bacon, divided use
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon liquid hickory smoke (optional)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 pound cooked navy beans, plus 3 cups cooking liquid; or 3 cans (15.5 ounces each), undrained
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut 3 slices of the bacon into 1-inch strips. In a skillet, cook the cut bacon until browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove to paper towels to drain.
3. In the same pan, sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat until tender and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, liquid smoke (if using), red pepper flakes, pepper and salt. Mix well. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 1/2 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine the beans, their liquid, the sauce and the cooked bacon. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or a 3-quart casserole dish. Place the remaining 3 slices of bacon on top of the beans. Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees, and bake 15 minutes more to brown the bacon slices.
Reprinted with permission from Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin (Clarkson Potter, 2019).