Guest Post by MJ at MJ’s Kitchen: Beans, Bacon and Chipotle

Our guest today is MJ at MJ’s Kitchen

MJ can make chiles 10 ways from Sunday, she has a real flair for Southwest cooking. Don’t think everything she makes is spicy, her thoughtfully crafted recipes emphasis the unique flavor and nuance of chiles, not just heat. While she enjoys a wide variety of local chiles in New Mexico, she is always keen to help source these flavors for ourselves in her Kitchen Notes following each recipe. Easy recipes with a Southwestern flair is exactly the reason I began following MJ’s Kitchen, her neighborly style made me a fan.

After you print Beans, Bacon and Chipotle for your next summer BBQ, be sure to visit MJ’s Kitchen for more recipes like Black Bean & Shiitake Enchiladas or Pinon (Pine Nut) Biscotti.

Guest Post by MJ's Kitchen Beans-Bacon-Chipotle
Beans, Bacon and Chipotle – What’s not to love?

Hello to the readers and friends of Savoring Today!  I’m MJ of MJ’s Kitchen, a spicy little blog in New Mexico, USA.  When Judy asked me to help her out while she recuperates and returns to better health, I was quite thrilled to have been asked and was more than happy to help.  I love Savoring Today and all of its wonderful recipes and of course—its gracious host.

In deciding what to share with you today, I was looking for something that reflected my love of sweet and spicy and as fate would have it, along came these sweet and spicy beans.  Beans, Bacon and Chipotle evolved as the solution to a pot of overcooked navy beans.  About twice a month I pressure cook a simple pot of dried beans and then use the beans in a variety of dishes.  Because I’ll be recooking the beans in another dish, my normal process is to undercook the beans just a bit and then finish cooking them in the final dish. Last week when I cooked up a pot of navy beans, I overcooked them; therefore, I had to come up with a dish with a short cooking time.  The recipe I’m sharing with you today did the trick.

Beans, Bacon and Chipotle is a relative simple dish with flavors similar to those of baked beans, but better in my opinion.  It’s not near as sweet as baked beans and if you have the beans cooked already, it takes less than 30 minutes to make.  Chipotle powder gives the dish the “spicy” as well as provides a nice smoky complement to the bacon.  Maple syrup is added to provide the “sweet”.  Serve a bowl of these beans with a nice salad or piece of cornbread for a complete meal, or as a side to baked ham, grilled chicken or your favorite sandwich.

Guest Post by MJ's Kitchen Beans-Bacon-Chipotle served

5.0 from 2 reviews
Beans, Bacon, and Chipotle
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves / Yields: 4 to 6 as a side
  • 4 ounces slab bacon*, diced
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked navy (or any white) bean, drained (reserve the liquid)
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • ½ cup minced red bell pepper
  • ¼ tsp. crushed dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. crushed dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon or Apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. chipotle powder*
  • Salt to taste
  • *See Kitchen Notes
  1. Add the diced bacon to a hot skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the bacon starts to turn brown and gets somewhat crispy on the edges. Carefully drain all but about 1-2 Tbsp. of the drippings from the skillet.
  2. Return the skillet to the heat, reduce heat to medium low, and add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Stir in the thyme and oregano.
  4. Add the bourbon and stir quickly to incorporate it with the bacon and vegetables. (Most of the bourbon will burn off.)
  5. Add the ketchup, maple syrup and chipotle powder. Stir to combine well.
  6. Add the beans and stir to coat with the sauce. Reduce heat to low. Add ½ cup of the reserved liquid (or ½ cup water). Stir and continue to heat through.
  7. Let the beans heat through for about 3 to 5 minutes. If they start to get too thick, add a little more water.
  8. Taste. Add salt if needed.
  9. Serve immediately.

Kitchen Notes

Bacon – Slab bacon may be hard to find, but it’s well worth the hunt.  The little diced pieces give you something to bite into.  If you can’t find slab bacon then use a thick, sliced bacon and cut into small pieces.  Don’t worry about trimming the fat.  You’ll be rendering it and then pouring off most of the fat once cooked.  Diced smoked ham can also be used in placed of bacon.  However, if you use ham, you don’t need to render the fat, just add the ham about a minute before you add the beans.

Chipotle Powder – Chipotle powder is quite common in my area but I understand that in some places, it’s hard to find.  As a substitute you could use one to two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (Two peppers yield a very spicy bean dish!)  If you can’t find chipotle of any kind, then any smoked chile pepper would work.  Smoked paprika would provide the smokiness of the chipotle but without the heat.  Smoked serrano or ancho powder would provide both heat and smoky flavor.

The Liquid – If the beans are too thick for your preference, add a little more liquid.  I usually end up adding about ½ cup of the liquid from the beans. Hope you enjoy these Sweet and Spicy Beans!

Guest Post by MJ's Kitchen Beans-Bacon-Chipotle Pot

Thank you again Judy for having me as a guest.  I hope that your recovery is quick and that you’re back on your feet in no time.


  1. Bill says

    McCormick Chipotle Chile Powder is widely available and should be in the spice rack of most major stores. I have no trouble finding it here in central Illinois.

    • says

      Thanks Bill. Yes, I have seen the McCormick brand here in the states. Unfortunately, chipotle powder is hard to find outside of the U.S. A friend of mine in Canada has to order it from New Mexico, so that’s why I offered the alternative chile powders to use.

  2. says

    Love MJ’s blog and so true she can cook chiles like no one else. I like my beans served to me in restaurants, well just to lazy to ever try and make some. This recipe may get me in the kitchen though.
    [email protected] recently posted..Asian Persuasion Cocktail with Ungava GinMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks so much Evelyne!! When you make your own beans, you can control the texture of the beans (most of the time) to your liking. I never buy canned beans anymore. Home cooked are so much better!

  3. says

    I always buy a pound of chipotle powder every year mail order from New Mexico — which just barely lasts me! I love that stuff, and it’s so good combined with bacon. Really nice twist on baked beans — and perfect for the upcoming cookout and picnic season. Great guest post! Thanks.
    [email protected] Riffs recently posted..Shrimp in Chipotle SauceMy Profile

    • says

      A pound of chipotle! I’m not surprised John. 🙂 I’m still thinking about those shrimp with chipotle that you made. YUM! Thanks for your comments!

  4. says

    I hope you’re making a good recovery, Judy. I love the look of this bean dish. I can buy slab bacon just down the road from where I live so I’d love to make this dish. I love how it’s not as sweet as baked beans but how there’s a little sweetness from the maple syrup xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..In My Kitchen, May 2014My Profile

  5. says

    I adore baked beans but quickly become disheartened by the loads (and loads) of sugar that are typically added to the recipes I come across – it turns me right off. Not only does this version look gorgeous, it is loaded with goodness and wholesome flavour (love the addition of chipotle) and just a touch of maple syrup – yay! finally :). With MJs clever spicing choices, there’s no need to bog it down with junk. I too love a little bacon with beans ~ I can’t wait to try this version MJ! Thank you ladies.
    Kelly @ Inspired Edibles recently posted..Succulent Coconut Curry Shrimp with Spring PeasMy Profile

  6. says

    Hope you continue to recover, Judy, and that you’re feeling better with each passing day. This truly sounds delicious, MJ. It’s so good to see a pot of beans that is actually homemade, not to mention quite flavorful. Far too many start with a can of baked beans. Huh? They’re usually far too sweet and without character. That is so not your beans. I’ve pinned this one for future reference. Thanks.
    ChgoJohn recently posted..A Tale of Two PizzasMy Profile

  7. says

    Headed over from MJ’s…..great place that you have. And of course I love the beans, looks so good,what’s not to love!
    [email protected] recently posted..Cream of wild Mushroom Soup #Ina FridaysMy Profile

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