Throughout its history, Boston has been linked to beans. Surely the humble legume is not the kind of association that the city’s ancestors would have sought when they strove to make the mark of their city in the New World. But they found each other, as evidenced by the names Beantown, Boston Baked Beans, Beanpot Hockey Tournament, and Boston Bean Pot, among others.
However, it wasn’t until the 1900s, with its emphasis on healthy eating, that the homey image of a bubbling pot of beans gained popularity. Beans are of the moment, the very definition of what our food should be: rich in carbohydrates and fiber.
As anyone who has ever cooked for a Boston ham and bean church dinner will tell you: the ideal method of cooking beans is in a pot of beans in the oven – making Boston baked beans the real old fashioned way. For that deliciously slow, sweetly fragrant bake, you need traditional pots and sturdy stoneware that protects your beans from burning or overcooking, while keeping them moist and flavorful. This recipe adopts the traditional way of cooking authentic Boston Baked Beans.
OFFICIAL BOSTON BAKED BEANS RECIPE
Makes 8 servings
2-1 / 2 qt. Bean pot version
1 package (1 pound) navy beans or peas
1/4 pound of salted pork, cut into 2 pieces
1 small whole onion, peeled
1 teaspoon dry mustard
8 cups of water
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3 spoonfuls of sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1) Soak beans overnight in a large saucepan in 6 cups of water. Add baking soda. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander over a large bowl. Save fluid.
2) Place the beans, salted pork, and onion in the bean pot. Add molasses, salt, sugar, dry mustard, pepper, and a cup of water. Stir well. Add enough water to cover the beans. Cover the pot of beans.
3) Bake 2 hours at 300 degrees. Add the rest of the water and stir again. Bake 1-1 / 2 more hours (or until beans are tender). Uncover the last 1/2 hour.