On Saturday, September 4, 2010, the Alabama Butterbean Festival in Pinson, Alabama, cooked up a record 1,010 gallons of baked beans in an enormous 1,200-gallon pot. The town's residents earned a Guinness World Record for the Largest Pot of Baked Beans and placed their small town on the map.
Here is my recipe for a much smaller pot—a four-quart saucepan.
• 1 pound frozen speckled butter beans (fresh if you can get them)
• ½ pound unsliced bacon diced into 1-inch cubes
• 1 small white onion (diced)
• 1 green bell pepper
• 3 cloves fresh garlic - sliced thin
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
• ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
• salt and crushed red pepper to taste ( I usually add about a teaspoon of each)
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and pour in the bacon cubes. Cook until brown, about 10 minutes, and drain off excess fat.
Add onions, pepper, garlic, and bay leaf. Let this cook briefly but don't let the onions get brown.
Add three cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the oregano, thyme, and pepper flakes. Let this boil for about one minute.
Add the beans, cover the pot, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the beans cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. I prefer the beans to be fairly thick. If you want them thinner to serve over rice, add a cup of stock. Chicken, beef, or vegetable works well.
To read Regina's story about cooking during hurricane season and Saints season, click here.