I've always wanted to make Boston Baked Beans. Typically, the beans are slow-baked for hours. This recipe comes from the June/July 2011 issue of Cook's Country; using science, baking soda is used to quick soak and cook the beans (no overnight soaking is necessary). Total cooking time is 1½ hours, so it's much quicker! The recipe was pretty much a success, except for two minor things-- I used a cast-iron Dutch oven and so I should have added more water to the beans. It was easily remedied by adding it at the very end. My family LOVED this recipe, but I have a personal preference for sweeter baked beans. I "doctored" my portion by adding extra brown sugar and some honey. It was perfect.
|1||pound dried navy beans (about 2 cups), picked over and rinsed|
|1||tablespoon baking soda|
|6||ounces salt pork , rind removed and cut into ¼-inch pieces|
|1||onion, chopped fine|
|5||tablespoons packed dark brown sugar|
|¼||cup plus 1 tablespoon molasses|
|2||tablespoons Worcestershire sauce|
|4||teaspoons Dijon mustard|
|2||teaspoons cider vinegar|
|Salt and pepper|
*Liquids evaporate faster in the oven in heavy cast-iron Dutch ovens than in lighter pots. If you're using a heavy pot, increase the water to 4 1/2 cups. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water, beans, and baking soda to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer briskly for 20 minutes. Drain beans in colander. Rinse beans and pot. Cook salt pork in now-empty pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in water*, beans, sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, Worcestershire, 1 tablespoon mustard, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to boil. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are nearly tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove lid and continue to bake until beans are completely tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon molasses and remaining 1 teaspoon mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Beans can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.) TASTING NOTES: I have a personal preference for more sweet, than savory, when I eat Boston Baked Beans. I added about 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup brown sugar to the baked beans. That did it for me!