Cooking with 'Friends': General Hayden's Baked Beans

He's been trusted with the nation's top secrets and now he's spilling the beans! General Hayden shared his mother Sadie's famous baked beans - a staple at all neighborhood functions for over half a century!

1lb. dried navy beans
2 qts. water
Ham bone
1 large onion
2 (14 oz.) bottles ketchup
8oz. pancake syrup
Brown sugar
5-6 strips of bacon

Put enough water in the pan to cover the navy beans, about 2 inches above them. Boil for about three hours, when you stir them you can feel if the beans are still hard.  Cook them until they’re soft but not mushy. Keep watching them because the water boils away fast, so just keep adding more water as the beans thicken.

While you are boiling them, put in a ham bone or piece of ham, an onion, and salt and pepper. After they’re finished boiling, then prepare them for baking. You should have about 2 lbs. of cooked beans.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Strain the beans, a little at a time. Put them in a dish to the side. Get some of the juice and mix it with brown sugar, using about 3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar to 2 cups of bean juice. Now, in a roast pan, put a small amount of the strained beans, add the brown sugar solution, pancake syrup and catsup. Mix well, then add a little more beans and continue with the brown sugar mixture, syrup, and catsup until all the beans are gone. Save remaining bean juice.

Place bacon strips on top of beans and bake uncovered for up to 2 hours. Stir the beans while they’re baking, and add more bean juice as needed.

Note: If you’re only cooking a small amount, it might not take the full 2 hours.