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Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

This recipe, adapted from "Jasper White's Cooking From New England" (Harper & Row: 1989), may well be the ultimate American baked bean dish , just sweet enough from the molasses and maple sugar. There is also a pleasantly bitter undertone ... Read more

Total time: 6 hours 25 minutes | Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 pound navy beans, pea beans or other small dried white beans
  • 1/2 pound salt pork
  • 1 onion, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry mustard
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar

Step 1Sort through the beans and discard any off-colored or broken ones. Rinse and drain the beans and set aside.

Step 2Remove the rind from half of the salt pork. Cut it in 1/2-inch squares. Cut the other half in 3/4-to 1-inch-thick strips to equal 4 or 5 strips, with the rind attached. Set aside.

Step 3Line the bottom of an earthenware crock or bean pot with the 1/2-inch squares of salt pork and onion. Place the beans on top. Bring 1 quart of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the garlic, tomato puree, salt, pepper, dry mustard, maple sugar, molasses, bay leaves and vinegar. Simmer 1 minute. Mix well and pour over the beans. Score strips of salt pork crosswise, about every inch, without cutting through them. This prevents the strips from curling while cooking. Place the strips on top of the beans and liquid.

Step 4Heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Step 5Cover the beans and bake 5 hours, checking occasionally (first at 2 hours, then every hour), to be sure the liquid is just barely covering the beans. Add more water as needed. After 5 hours, remove the cover and cook 1 hour more. Remove the strips of salt pork and stir the beans before serving.


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