They don't call Boston "Beantown" for nothing. Boston baked beans has been spreading happiness at picnics and potlucks for hundreds of years. Boston baked beans are usually made with navy beans, but any small dried bean will work in this recipe.
Serves 10 Portions Boston Baked Beans
- 1 pound dry navy beans
- 6 cups water
- Pinch of baking soda
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 strips bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (traditionally salt pork is used, and if desired 4 ounces can be substituted for the bacon)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1/3 cup
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Soak the beans in the 6 cups of water overnight in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add a pinch of baking soda and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Drain into a colander set over a large bowl, and reserve the liquid.
4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
5. Transfer the drained beans into a Dutch oven, or bean pot if you have one, and add the rest of the ingredients.
Stir until combined. Add enough of the reserved water to just barely cover the beans.
6. Cover the pot tightly and place in the oven for 1 hour.
7. Uncover and check the liquid level - do not stir the beans. Add some more reserved liquid if the beans are getting too dry. Cover and cook 1 more hour.
8. Uncover and test the beans; they should be getting tender, but if they're still firm, cover and cook a bit longer, adding a splash of water if they're getting too dry.
9. When tender, turn the heat up to 350 degrees F. and continue to cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or so. This last 30 minutes is to give the beans a nice crust on top, as well as reduce the liquid to a thick, syrupy consistency. Remove when ready and serve hot or room temperature.
Note: the cooking times will vary, but process will not. After boiling, bake the beans covered until tender, and finish uncovered until the beans are crusty and liquid has thickened.