Miss Hilda’s Baked Beans


 1 lb dried Great Northern beans

 1 tsp cayenne pepper

 1 tsp salt

 2 bay leaves

 2 tbsp vegetable oil

 4 oz bacon

 1 ½ cup ketchup

 1 cup chopped onion

 ½ cup celery

 ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

 1 tbsp powdered mustard

 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

 Black pepper


 Drain beans that were soaking overnight and put them in a pot with ¼ tsp cayenne, the salt, and bay leaves. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer and beans are just tender, about an hour. Remove beans from heat and let sit for five minutes. Drain beans and reserve 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid.

 Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for four minutes. Add ketchup, reserved cooking liquid, onions, celery, brown sugar, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and remaining teaspoon of cayenne. Cook, stirring, for five minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the drained beans and stir gently to mix. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

 Transfer beans to an oven-proof baking dish and baked covered for at least two hours at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and serve warm.