Slow cooked Boston baked beans are one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. These traditional baked beans are an old Saturday night ritual here in New England, dating back to the early colonist. Sweetened, flavored with molasses, loaded with protein, ( a very healthy side dish). We usually serve them with brown bread, corn bread or biscuits. Always perfect for a picnic, party or backyard BBQ. And of course, beans pair-up nicely with ribs, hot dogs and classic cole slaw. Anyway way you serve em’ up these are sure to be a big hit.
Way back in the day (in the 1700′s), Boston was a major exporter of rum. Molasses was an ingredient used in the distillation process and contains both sugars and calcium. Added to beans, keeps them nice and firm and from turning too soft. Which is why adding marvelous molasses to beans will enable you to cook them for several hours developing those wonderful flavors.
Boston Baked Beans Recipe
- Cook time: 8 hours
- 1 pound (2 1/2 to 3 cups) dry white beans such as Navy beans, Great Northern beans (shown), Pea beans, kidney beans, Jacobs Cattle, Yellow Eye, and Soldier Beans. Use your favorite.
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard or–
- 2 teaspoons Coleman’s dry mustard
- pinch of ground cloves (optional)
- 1 medium onion, (1 1/2 cups) chopped
- 3 cups hot water or sub. chicken stock
- *1/2 pound salt pork, pork belly or bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (optional)
*Note: Vegetarian or vegan. A few non-traditional add-in’s – 1 teaspoon of: healthy turmeric, garlic, jalapenos, green chilis, bbq sauce or hot sauce etc. A little variety “is the spice of life”
- Rinse beans well. Place beans in a large pot or casserole and cover with 2 inches of water. Soak overnight and drain. If you forget to soak the beans overnight, just boil them 10-15 minutes in a covered pot filled with water. Remove from heat and let soak for a hour, then drain and rinse.
- Add the rinsed and drained beans to your crock pot, slow-cooker, (bean pot or covered casserole if you are cooking in the oven) mix in the chopped onions and/or salt pork/bacon.
- Add the molasses, brown sugar, mustard, and salt & pepper etc. with 3 cups of hot water or chicken stock. Mix well.
- Cover and cook in a 250°F oven or a crock pot/ slow-cooker on the low setting for 8-9 hours. You may have to check to see if the beans need more water, and add some. Cook until the beans are tender and the broth has thickened and absorbed. Make a day ahead for even more wonderful results.