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Bourbon Bacon Beans over Seared and Baked Chicken Breasts

Bourbon Bacon Beans

These beans take a while, so either start early in the day or make them one day in advance (I did the latter); closely adapted from Andrew Schloss.
Course side
Cuisine beans
Author TheSpicedLife


  • 1 lb dried beans (he suggests Great Northern, I used Cannellini, but really any bean will do)
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 8 oz bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 med-large onions, finely chopped
  • salt to taste (as called for in recipe)
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 T minced fresh thyme (or 1 t dried, I used fresh)
  • 1 t dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t chipotle powder
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 Roma or Tesoro sized tomatoes, chopped, with juices
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup piloncillo (or 1/3 cup molasses and 1/3 cup white sugar)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T dark soy sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz) beans of choice to add if desired (optional, see instructions)


  1. Rinse your dried beans and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water to cover the beans by 2 inches and then bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Let boil for 5 minutes and then cover, reducing heat to low. Let cook until they are tender but firm, which will depend on the age of your beans.

    Check occasionally to see if they need more water (make sure the beans stay covered). At the end, add 1 teaspoon of salt and let them soak in that water for at least 10 minutes.

  2. Drain the beans and set aside.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the bacon. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, to allow the fat to render out of the bacon without crisping much, if at all.
  4. Add the onions with a pinch of salt. Let cook for 10 minutes on medium heat now, until the onions are starting to turn gold at the edges (keep stirring so the bacon does not burn). Add the paprika, chipotle, thyme, oregano and black pepper with another pinch of salt. Cook for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and bay leaf and mix that in. Cook for another minute.
  5. Add the piloncillo or sugar and molasses, along with the tomatoes, chicken stock, bourbon, mustard and soy sauce. Don't inhale too deeply--the alcohol is quite strong at this point! Bring this to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
  6. Add the beans, return the liquid to a boil, cover the pot, and then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.

  7. After about 2 hours, check to see if you like the ratio of beans to sauce. I wanted a lot of beans, so at this point I added an additional can of drained and rinsed kidney beans (what I happened to have around).
  8. Simmer about another hour (for a total of 3 hours), until the sauce has thickened and the beans are tender, creamy and flavorful. Check for adding more salt (i.e., do a taste test).

  9. The flavors will deepen even more overnight.