Boston Baked Beans

I spent the day making baked beans, a side dish to go with my Easter Sunday meal, as well as prepping hamburger patties and lamb kofta kebabs for bbq’ing tomorrow. I also finished baking off the last of the sugar cookie dough that I made yesterday. A busy day but very productive.

My previous attempt at baked beans, back in September, was very successful but, although the Korean flavours were tasty, I DID still want to make the very traditional western version, Boston baked beans,  which are flavoured with molasses or maple syrup and salt pork or bacon. However, at the last minute, I didn’t get a chance to go grocery shopping, so I had to leave out the bacon. I just used bacon fat from my fridge to saute the onions. If you want to make a vegan version of these beans, use vegetable oil instead.

Boston Baked Beans – makes 5-6 cups, serves 8 generously

2 cups (1 pound) dried navy, Great Northern or cannellini** beans
1 tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3/4 cup fancy molasses
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground mustard
pinch of cloves
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup (optional)
1 tbsp rum
4 cups cooking liquid

** I had some cannellini beans in my pantry so that’s what I used.

Soak beans overnight. Discard soaking liquid and replace with enough water to cover the beans by about 2-3 inches. Bring the water to the boil, skimming off any foam. Replace any water lost and when the contents return to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the beans are tender (45 min to an hour).

Preheat the oven to 325 deg Fahrenheit.

In a Dutch oven saute the onion in the bacon fat until the onion is translucent and starts to get golden brown around the edges.

Add the cooked beans, molasses, salt, pepper, mustard, cloves, vinegar, ketchup and rum and enough cooking liquid to cover the beans by an inch, to the Dutch oven.

Reserve the remaining cooking liquid in case you need any more at the end.

Place the Dutch oven, covered, in the oven and bake for 4-5 hours, stirring every hour and checking to see that the mixture hasn’t gotten too thick. If it’s too soupy, take the lid off and continue baking until it’s as thick as you prefer. You may wish the top to get a bit crusty at the end.

Serve hot.

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