If you’ve never tried real baked beans (i.e. not out of a can) treat yourself to these rich, substantial favorites, so popular in neighboring New England. The long, slow baking time allows the maple syrup and other ingredients to deeply imbue the bland beans with flavor. Perfect on a winter day when the additional heat from the oven is most appreciated.
What you need:
- 2 pounds dried white beans
- ½ pound lean salt pork (optional)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 medium-sized onion, peeled
- 1½ cups pure New York maple syrup
Start the night before you plan to serve beans. Rinse beans and pick over for stones.
Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Add baking soda and soak overnight. The next morning, drain the beans. Cover with fresh water and boil gently until skins wrinkle. Drain cooking liquid and save. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place whole, peeled onion in the bottom of a bean pot or covered casserole. Add all ingredients except pork, if using, and stir together. Score pork and place on top of beans. Cover beans with saved water. Place cover on pot and bake about 8 hours.
Check occasionally, adding more reserved water as needed. Remove pot cover the last hour of cooking to brown top.