Monday, November 17, 2008

Homemade Baked Beans

I had never had a home-baked bean until I was in my thirties. Really! Like most of you I grew up on Van Camp pork & beans. This, my interwebby friends, is the recipe I used for that first ever heavenly-baked-in-a-pot-of-brown-sugar-deliciousness. I have made it in a crockpot overnight, but prefer it baked in a dutch oven because the sugar on the edges caramelizes a little. Mmmmm, mmmm good! BUT, gotta say, cooking this in the crockpot eliminates the need to stir every so often and add more liquid so that might be the preferred method for busy moms. Just layin' out the options. However you choose to make it, you will enjoy the end result!

1 lb. small white dried beans
1/2 c. maple syrup (or molasses)
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 lb. salt pork, scored and cut into chunks
hot water as needed
Soak beans overnight in water to cover by three times the depth of the beans.
Drain beans and put them in a pot, adding more water to amply cover. Bring the water to a slow boil and simmer, partially covered, until softened but not cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 275°
Drain beans well and transfer to a casserole dish with lid (dutch oven if you have one).
Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix. Add hot water to cover beans by 1 inch. Partially cover pot. Bake 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed to keep beans moist.

These are head and shoulders above any canned bean you can buy. And they're really easy to make. This makes a great side dish to any kind of meat, but especially pork. You can use the leftover beans and add chopped up hot dogs to make a mean beanie-weenie casserole for the kids' lunch, too.

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