Continuing our Memorial Day and Summer Cookout theme, I decided to attack home made baked beans. I’m not talking about opening a can of Bush’s beans or other store bought beans and adding brown sugar and stuff.
Nooooooooo sir… I’m into pain.
I want to make real authentic home made Boston Baked Beans. After doing some checking around on the Internet it became fairly obvious that the recipe is simple, it just takes all day to make your beans properly.
I really liked the simplicity of this 1940’s Gourmet Magazine recipe for Boston Baked Beans. I also referred to this recipe.
I ended up using these ingredients:
1 lb dried navy beans
1 pork neck bone
2 tbs butter
½ onion, finely chopped
½ tsp dried English mustard
¼ tsp paprika
½ cup black strap molasses
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
The night before you want to cook your beans, place them in a 4 quart boiler and add enough cold water to cover about an inch. I fooled around and started soaking my beans at 4:00 AM and let them soak till noon. Change your water once while your beans are swimming and pick through the beans to remove any dark or “stung” beans that might be less than appetizing to eat.
After the beans have soaked for at least six hours, place the boiler on the stovetop and fire up the heat to medium high. Bring the beans to a slow boil and add your pork neck bone and a couple of twists of fresh ground black pepper
Step away from the stove and let your beans boil for at least one hour. Mine could have cooked a little longer, so I suggest cooking 1-1/2 to 2 hours if you like your beans really tender.
Now dice your onion really fine. Some people like to put big chunks or “rings” of onion in their baked beans. Not me, but to each their own. Cut your onion the way you like.
I also like my onion sautéed, so I melted a couple of table spoons of butter in a small boiler and cooked my onions until they were clear and tender. You can use your onions raw, however, if you want to.
When the beans are done boiling, turn off the heat and let them cool down a little. Now dip a half cup of the water off of the beans and add to the onions in the other boiler. Stir in the light and dark brown sugar, the paprika, the mustard, and the molasses. A little salt and a couple twists of fresh black pepper can’t hurt—you decide how much.
Fish out your pork neck bone and place it aside (don’t toss it in the trash-you’ll need it later. Now drain your cooked beans in a colander, reserving the liquid. Dump the beans back in the boiler, stir the onion/sugar/spice/molasses mixture into the beans and add about ½ cup of the reserved water.
Now, if you don’t have an oven safe bean pot, use a covered casserole dish that is at least 4” deep. Also, if you don’t want to spend an hour cleaning the dish and the lid, I suggest spraying both with a non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place your pork neck bone in the middle of your bean pot and pour the bean mixture in around it. Just for fun I drizzled the top of the beans with some more molasses ‘cause I like molasses.
Cover the dish, place it in the oven, and turn the temperature down to 300 degrees F.
Wander off to the pool or go watch TV, checking back once an hour to see how your beans are baking. Notice how the color changes to a nice dark redish brown?
Hey, you there...get your spoon out of those beans!
Each time you check your progress, add a ¼ cup of your reserved bean cooking liquid to the baking beans to keep everything from drying out. After four hours, remove the lid and cook your beans another thirty minutes to an hour.
When you think the beans are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool for ten or so minutes, then plate them up with your slaw, slice your meat(loaf) and EAT.
The Redneck Gourmet