Serves: Makes 10 to 12 servings
- 1 pound dry navy beans
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 can (14½ ounces) stewed tomatoes
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½cup ketchup
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces salt pork, cut into 3 pieces
Procedures:Canned baked beans were the norm for so long, particularly when I was growing up. We’d happily sop up the sweet sauce with the brown bread my mother always served alongside. I created this version for the wonderful barbecues that we host, or go to, all year-round. The slow baking helps blend the flavors of molasses and spices. If you have enough ramekins, serve the beans in them so the sauce doesn’t run all over the plate.
- Place the beans in a large bowl, add cold water to cover by about 2 inches, and soak at least 12 hours or overnight. You can also quick-soak the beans.
- Drain the soaked beans thoroughly, place in a Dutch oven or other large pot, and add fresh cold water to cover by about ½ inch (about 5 cups). Bring the water to a low boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to medium. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes; do not let the beans boil, and decrease the heat to medium-low if needed.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and translucent but not crisp. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, until the onion is tender.
- Add the onion mixture to the beans. Stir together the water and dry mustard in a small dish, then add to the beans, along with the tomatoes, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, syrup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix well, then add the salt pork, poking it down into the beans. The liquid should just barely cover the beans at this point; gently boil the mixture for about 10 minutes to thicken slightly if needed.
- Cover the pot and bake in the oven for 3 hours. Stir the beans, re-cover, and return to the oven. Decrease the temperature to 250°F and continue baking for 5 hours longer, until the beans are tender and the mixture has a thick saucy consistency. Discard the bay leaves. The beans can be served hot or at room temperature.