Mom makes baked beans
My husband says being married to me is like living with a human history museum. He got more evidence of that from tonight’s dinner, in which I indulged myself with another childhood favorite, Boston baked beans. Even though baked beans are traditional picnic fare and at least used to be served along side the hamburgers and fried chicken on the 4th of July, I like to make them in the winter, since they have to bake for 6-7 hours and in the summer make the house even hotter than it already is.
I made these in my trusty Le Creuset knock-off, which has to be the best $30 I ever spent; I use my oval Dutch oven at least twice a week and it’s holding up beautifully. It was actually a little big for the recipe and I toyed with the idea making twice the amount, but since no one in the family really likes baked beans but me I quickly realized that would be insane. Bill ate one serving tonight to my two, but I know I will be throwing leftovers away. I hate that. I served the beans with sausages, home made applesauce, and brown bread for a real Yankee supper.
The recipe I use is adapted from the 1968 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, and tastes very close to what my mother used to make.
- 1 pound (2 cups) dry navy beans
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 pound salt pork (I have always used bacon), diced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
Rinse beans; add to 2 quarts cold water. Bring to boil; simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat; cover; let stand 1 hour. (Or, add beans to water and let soak overnight.)
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to beans and soaking water; cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until tender. Pour contents of saucepan into casserole or beanpot, mixing in remaining ingredients.
Cover and bake at 300º for 5-7 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Don’t let them get too dry. I have never found that they are done in 5 hours; they always needs the longer amount of time to achieve the proper consistency and texture – syrupy and caramelized with the beans breaking down a little and getting a bit mushy.