- 1 pound dried navy beans
- 1 large onion (quartered and thinly sliced)
- 1/2 pound diced country ham
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup dark molasses
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
- Rinse the beans and pick over, discarding any discolored or malformed beans and small stones. Put the beans in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.
- Add water to the pan to about 1/2 inch above the beans. Bring to a boil once again then reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours. Do not boil the beans. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
- In a small skillet, heat a few teaspoons of vegetable oil, or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the diced ham and fry until lightly browned.
- Combine the reserved bean liquid with the molasses, brown sugar, salt, and mustard; stir to blend.
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- In a 3-quart casserole, layer the beans with the sliced onion and ham. Pour the liquid mixture over the beans so the liquid is even with the top of the beans. If necessary, add a little water.
- Cover the casserole and bake on the center rack for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the cover from the bean pot or casserole and continue baking, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the liquids have reduced and thickened somewhat.
Tip: place a baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom rack under the bean pot or casserole to catch spills. Add more water to this pan as necessary. The pan will help catch spills and the water will help keep the spills from burning.
Serves 6 to 8.
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