Boston Baked Beans
Adapted from James Villas, The Bacon Cookbook
Baked beans, an American food icon dating back to Colonial times, are synonymous with Boston. Yet visit Beantown and you’ll realize that you’re better off making them at home. In this recipe, a little rum added to the slow-simmered beans complements the sweet molasses and smoky bacon. There is nothing complicated about preparing Boston baked beans; they just need your time—or even better, a slow cooker.
This recipe was featured as part of our Irish Breakfast for St. Patrick’s Day.
- 4 cups dried navy or pea beans (about 2 pounds)
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 medium onion
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pound slab bacon (rind removed), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups dark molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
1Place the beans in a large bowl with enough water to cover by 3 inches and soak overnight.
2Heat the oven to 275°F and place a rack in the lower third.
3Drain the beans, place in a large (6-quart) Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Press the cloves into the onion and add the onion and baking soda to the pot; stir to combine.
4On the stovetop, bring the beans just to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, skim off the foam, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
5Place the pot in the oven and bake slowly until the beans are tender, 5 to 6 hours. Add a little water if necessary. Allow the top of the beans to crust slightly during the final 30 minutes of baking. Serve hot.
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