Coffee Chile Baked Beans

Why is it that baked beans are associated with summer BBQs and picnics? When these beans were in the oven on a cold day this week the house smelled amazing. Walking in from the cold you really got a sense that things where ok here and there was nothing to worry about. When it finally came time to eat, they were hearty and warming, the perfect finish to a cold wet day. It's no secret that I love sneaking coffee into savory dishes. I just love the dark bitter flavor it brings to the table. I decided to try it with beans because I was drinking a coffee the last time I cooked chili and noticed that the flavors worked.
Browning onions in bacon fat is on of the best smells in the world. The beans go in after some chile powder, coffee, and milk. Fairly liquidy when it goes into the oven. Gah... these are GOOD. The consistency was perfectly goopy and the flavors were salty, bitter, and a little sweet. The coffee added such a dark complex element.
Note - I don't know what type of beans I used. They were unlabeled at the winter market and there was some faded chalk next to them that I couldn't really read.  

Coffee Chile Baked Beans

  • 1 Pound Dried Beans
  • 12 Ounces Bacon
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Habaneros
  • 5 New Mexico Dried Chiles
  • 3 Cups Coffee
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans overnight. Strain and rinse.
  2. Pop the dried chiles into the oven for a few minutes until they are brittle. Grind to a powder.
  3. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Cook until crispy. Remove from pan. Strain some of the fat if there is excess. Cook the onion in the bacon fat until browned, add the habanero and garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chili powder and cook about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and return the bacon to the pot. Stir to mix well and pop in the oven covered at 300.
  5. About 2 and a half hours later, remove from the oven, stir, check moisture levels, and put back into the oven with the cover askew. 2 hours later remove from oven, check seasoning and bean tenderness and adjust as needed before serving.