The Good Home Cookbook (Collectors Press, Fall 2006) is a landmark cookbook that compiles tried and true American favorite recipes. Key to the book's success is the more than 1,000 people currently participating in the first ever national public recipe testing campaign.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Boston Baked Beans--get ready for spring!

This is the real deal. Soaking the beans overnight will prevent them from busting and turning to mush. Enjoy...

Boston Baked Beans
Boston is called Beantown because beans slow-baked in molasses have been a favorite Boston dish since colonial days, when the city was a major producer of rum. Sugar cane harvested by slaves in the West Indies was turned into molasses and shipped to Boston to be made into rum, which was then sent to West Africa to buy more slaves to send to the West Indies. Even after slavery's end, Boston continued to be a big rum-producing city. The traditional accompaniment is Boston Brown Bread, which is also flavored with molasses.

Serves 6

2 cups (1 pound) dried navy beans, debris removed, soaked overnight, and drained
3/4 pound salt pork, diced
1 medium onion
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 1/2 cups boiling water, plus more as needed

1. Cover the beans with cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes; drain.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
3. Put half of the salt pork on the bottom of a bean pot or large casserole, along with the onion. Add the beans and put the remaining salt pork on top.
4. Mix the molasses, brown sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper with 3 1/2 cups boiling water in a small bowl and pour over the beans. The beans should be covered with liquid. If not, add more boiling water. Cover the pot with a lid.
5. Bake for 6 hours, checking periodically and adding boiling water as needed to keep the beans moist; do not flood them. If the beans become too soupy, remove the lid to encourage evaporation. Serve hot.

TIP: To make the beans Vermont style, replace the molasses with pure maple syrup. You can also adjust the seasonings with more salt, pepper, and onion.


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