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Old-fashioned New England Baked Beans Recipes

Old-fashioned New England Baked Beans


Traditionally, these beans were put together on Saturday night, slid into the damped oven or buried in the coals of the baked fire on the kitchen hearth, and cooked slowly all night. Then the pot was pulled out to serve with brown bread or homemade bread as a work free Sab-bath meal. I like them as part of a cold-weather, Sunday night dinner, the cooking beans filling the kitchen with wonderful smells of what is to come. Serve the beans with brown bread or crusty sourdough bread and butter.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 pound (about 3 cups) dried navy beans, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained

  • 2 medium size onions, chopped

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup molasses

  • 1 teaspoons dry mustard

  • 2 cups water or chicken stock, boiling

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 6 ounces salt pork, slab bacon, or hog jowl (see Note), traditionally left in one piece, but cubed if preferred

  1. Preheat the oven to 250F.

  2. Place the beans in a large kettle. Add water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Simmer the beans uncovered over low heat until barely tender, 30 to 45 minutes. The skins will just begin to pop when you blow on a spoonful of the beans. Drain.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients, including the salt pork if cubed. Stir in the beans. Pour into a medium size bean pot or covered flameproof casserole.

  4. If cooking the salt pork in one piece, use a sharp knife to make cuts, about inch apart through the piece to about inch from the bottom. Bend the piece, fanning out the slices. Push the pork down into the beans until totally covered.

  5. Cover the pot and bake 8 to 10 hours. Uncover the pot for the last hour to dry out the surface slightly.

Hog jowl is a smoked product made from the cheeks of hogs. It is much leaner and thinner than bacon and makes great seasoning meat, but its available only in some country markets.

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