Barbecued Baked Butter Beans

Fred Thompson

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From Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate

Delores Custer shared this recipe with me when I was her food-styling assistant many years ago in New York City. Delores is an excellent cook and always surprised me with the unique ways she used relatively simple products. I’ve tinkered with this recipe a bit, and I love the surprised looks I get when people taste it for the first time.

Serves 8–10

1 lb. dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight and drained
Kosher salt
Water
6 strips thick-cut bacon
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2⁄3 cup homemade or low sodium chicken broth
½ cup ketchup
½ cup thick barbecue sauce or slow-cooked Memphis-style barbecue sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
2 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ cup brewed coffee

Place the butterbeans in a 3-quart saucepan with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the beans begin to get tender, though they should still be a little firm. Drain.

Cook the bacon in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan, leaving the fat.

Add the butter to the pan. When the butter foams, throw in the onions, garlic, and thyme. Cook until the onions have become translucent, usually about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, ketchup, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, molasses, vinegar, and brown sugar. Cook until the sugar dissolves and then stir in the brewed coffee and remove from heat.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Stir the cooked beans into the sauce. Pour the mixture into a 9 × 13- inch baking dish and top with bacon strips. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the sauce is thickened but still wet. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

From Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate
Copyright © 2012 by Fred Thompson. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.

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