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Baked Beans in Bacon Cups

Staff Writer
Baked Beans in Bacon Cups
Con Poulos

We came up with this baked bean idea when we were hired to cater a party for a fashion company that was launching a new line of jeans. The inspiration was cowboys and pots of beans warming over a campfire. For parties, we fry the bacon cups one at a time so they get perfectly crisp and irresistible; for a less time-consuming preparation at home, I suggest baking them. Save the leftover habanero honey to add a sweet kick to barbecue sauce or to glaze grilled or roasted pineapple as a sweet side to grilled fish or chicken.



For the honey:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 fresh habanero chile, thinly sliced

For the beans:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 ½ cups canned navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 thick-cut bacon strips, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup port wine
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dark molasses
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

For the bacon cups:

  • Nonstick pan spray
  • 2 pounds thin-cut bacon

For serving:

  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red or yellow bell pepper (or a combination of the two)
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced


For the honey:

Pour the honey into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat, add the habanero, and allow the honey to cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into an airtight container.

For the beans:

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the beans, brown sugar, bacon, port, cilantro, molasses, 1 tablespoon of the habanero honey, and the chili powder and salt. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the mixture is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the bacon cups:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Turn a mini muffin pan upside down and lightly coat the bottom with nonstick pan spray.

Crisscross 3 slices of bacon over the bottom of each cup, and then place another mini muffin pan on top so that the bacon slices are compressed between the two pans. Place the pans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the bacon cups are crisp and browned, about 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Lift off the top pan. Carefully remove the bacon cups from the bottom pan and place them on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain, upside down.

For serving:

Gently reheat the beans in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through (add 1 tablespoon water if they’re too thick or dry). Place a spoonful of the beans into each bacon cup. Top with a dot of sour cream, some bell peppers, and a scallion ring. Serve.

Baked Bean Shopping Tip

Legumes are high in a number of nutrients, especially protein and fiber – filling you up with relatively few calories.

Baked Bean Cooking Tip

Beans are done when they can be easily mashed with a fork – make sure to test a few in case they have not cooked evenly.