1 lb dried navy beans
6 T kosher salt or 3 T table salt
1 lb beef bacon, chopped
8 to 12 oz beef smoked sausage, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 poblano or anaheim peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 cubanelle or 2 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 c chopped pickled jalapenos
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c molasses
1/4 c real maple syrup
2 c beef or vegetable broth (we use homemade)
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
2 tsp salt (we use 1/2 tsp to make this low sodium)
1 T minced dried onion (optional)
Rinse beans, put in crock pot with water to cover to the depth of one inch. Add 6 T kosher or 3 T table salt and stir. Cover and let soak overnight. In the morning, rinse beans thoroughly, and dump soaking liquid. Rinse crock pot. Return beans to crock pot. Add the beef broth and 2 c fresh water.
Saute the onions with the bacon briefly, just till they begin to soften and the bacon fat starts to render. Drain the fat and add to the crock pot with the smoked sausage, peppers, jalapenos, tomato paste, sugar, molasses, maple syrup, mustard, and black and cayenne peppers. Stir together, cover, and cook on low 6 hrs or until the beans are beginning to tenderize.
If you have trouble getting your beans to tenderize, try holding back the sugars, and adding them with the next step.
Add the salt, and adjust seasonings to taste (my mother always added 1 T dried minced onion at this point to boost the onion flavor if needed) and continue cooking, covered, for another 2 hrs or so until completely tender (a bean expert on beans and salt).
These beans may be put in a dutch oven, bean pot, or covered casserole dish, and baked in a 250 oven for 6-8 hrs until tender, instead of a crock pot, if desired. The recipe began life as Alton Brown’s, and we have tweaked it to make it true Colorado baked beans.