Fan Fare for Fall

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Baked beans go along with all your favorite autumn activities

Whether it is at a farm, fair or football game, it’s hard not to get outdoors this time of year. Take advantage of the emerging season, and soak up the sun while it lasts. Baked beans are a perfect fit for all kinds of Indian summer celebrations. They can be made ahead and served immediately or transported to the site of your fall fun. If you think your dish will look a little too plain on a festive table, just add a slice or two of local bacon or some chopped green onions.

Old-Fashioned Baked Beans

Yield: 6 servings
  1. 2 cups dried navy beans
  2. 1½ quarts water
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. ¼ pound salt pork, cut in ½-inch cubes
  5. ¼ cup sorghum syrup or molasses
  6. ½ teaspoon prepared mustard
  1. Place the beans and water in a large Dutch oven and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour. Add the salt and return to high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cover. Cook 45 minutes. Add the salt pork and cook an additional 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the sorghum and mustard until smooth. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the beans to a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish and stir in the sorghum mixture. Bake 1 hour. Serve warm.

Baked Rosemary Garlic Beans

Serve these aromatic beans with grilled or roasted lamb.
Yield: 4 servings
  1. 2 tablespoons canola oil
  2. 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  4. 1½ cups dried navy beans
  5. 6 cups chicken stock
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  7. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  8. ¼ cup dry plain breadcrumbs
  9. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  10. 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Place the canola oil in a heavy 2-quart casserole over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and rosemary, sautéing 1 minute. Add the beans and stock. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Stir in the salt and pepper and place in the oven.
  2. Cook uncovered for 2½ hours or until the beans are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add another half-cup of stock to the pot if necessary during cooking. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and drizzle with the olive oil. Cook 30 minutes longer and sprinkle with the parsley before serving warm.

Mixed Baked Beans

Yield: 6 servings
  1. 1 cup dried navy beans
  2. ½ cup dried kidney beans
  3. ½ cup dried pinto beans
  4. 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  5. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  6. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  7. 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  8. 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  9. ½ pound thick smoked bacon, diced
  10. 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  11. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  12. 1 cup crushed plum tomatoes
  13. ¼ cup maple syrup
  14. ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  15. 1 bay leaf
  16. Grated zest of 1 orange
  17. ½ teaspoon salt
  18. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  19. ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  20. ¼ cup cider vinegar
  1. Place the navy, kidney and pinto beans in a mixing bowl and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Add the thyme and allow to soak overnight or for 8 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a 2-quart casserole over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and toast for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the oil to the casserole. When hot, add the onions, carrots and bacon. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the jalapeno peppers, garlic and toasted cumin seeds to the bacon mixture. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans. Add to the bacon mixture along with the tomatoes, syrup, sugar, bay leaf, zest, salt, pepper and cilantro. Add 2 cups of water, cover and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Stir in the vinegar and cook 1 hour longer or until the liquid has nearly been absorbed. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve warm.

Easy Barbecue Baked Beans

Yield: 10 servings
  1. 2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  2. 2 (15.5-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  3. 2 cups barbecue sauce of your choice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the black beans, kidney beans and barbecue sauce in a 2-quart casserole. Mix well. Bake covered for 2 hours. Serve warm.

Cider Baked Beans

Yield: 10 servings
  1. 1 pound dried pinto or navy beans
  2. 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  3. ¼ pound bacon, diced
  4. 2 medium sweet onions, peeled and chopped
  5. 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  6. 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  7. 2 cups apple cider
  8. 1 cup apple juice
  9. 1 cup cider vinegar
  10. ¼ cup sorghum syrup
  11. ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  12. 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  13. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  14. 2 bay leaves
  15. 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  16. ½ teaspoon salt
  17. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Place the beans in a bowl and cover at least 2 inches with cold water. Allow to soak overnight or for 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans and place in a 2-quart casserole dish. Set aside.
  2. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon, onions and garlic. Saute 4-5 minutes or until golden-brown. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Add the jalapeno peppers, cider, juice, vinegar, sorghum, sugar, dry mustard, Dijon, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper to the casserole. Add the onion mixture and stir well. Bake for 3 hours or until the beans are very tender. Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve warm.
Tammy Algood develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add more clean, flavorful food to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce for your recipes. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at

About Author

Tammy Algood

Originally from Starkville, Miss., Tammy Algood has a Bachelor’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and monthly for The Tennessee Magazine. Broadcast appearances include Nashville’s local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates as well as statewide on PBS. Tammy can also be seen nationally on the HGTV and DIY networks.

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