Once you’ve had them made in a traditional terra-cotta pot, it’s easy to envision the Colonial Americans slow cooking this easy recipe over the hearth on a Saturday for #SundaySupper. My Mom would cook these up and serve them with a side of Boston Brown Bread and either Hot Dogs or Portuguese sausages.
Traditional Boston Baked Beans
Boston Baked Beans are a New England Tradition with Native American roots.
- 2 pounds dried white or navy beans
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, peeled, and diced
- 12 ounces salt pork or bacon
- 5 cups water, possibly more, as needed during baking
- Soak the beans covered in cold water overnight in a large bowl. Make sure the water level is at least 2 or 3 inches above the bean level to allow for absorption. Drain in a colander and remove and debris, discolored beans or empty shells. Soaking overnight greatly reduces the cooking time required.
- Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, combine molasses, mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper, onions and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
- Score the salt pork 1/4 inch deep 1 inch apart, and slice into two even pieces. Transfer to the bean pot. Add the soaked beans. Pour the molasses mixture over beans, stir, and cover. The liquid should cover the beans by 1/2 inch. Add more water if necessary.
- Transfer to oven to bake until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 6 hours. Check the beans every 45 minutes, adding more hot water if necessary to keep beans in broth at all times. For the last 50 to 60 minutes of cooking, uncover beans. At this stage, if you are having hot dogs or sausages with your beans, you can add them into the pot to heat inside with the beans, optional.
- Once the beans are to your desired tenderness, remove from oven, adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and molasses, if necessary. Since Navy beans are relatively high in starch, the sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.