These beans are baked uncovered for the last hour to crisp the pork. Pork sausages, frankfurters, beefsteak, and baked ham glazed with brown sugar and studded with cloves are all delicious with baked beans. This recipe is adapted from The Plimoth Colony Cook Book.
Harlow House Baked Beans
- 2 to 3 quarts water
- 4 cups dry pea beans or Great Northern beans
- 1 large onion peeled, plus 2 large onions, peeled and each pierced with 2 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt
- ¾ cup dark molasses
- ½ cup dark brown sugar divided
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ pound salt pork in one piece, with rind left on
- In a heavy 4- to 5-quart casserole, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the dried beans and boil them for about 2 minutes. (The water should cover the beans by at least 2 inches; add more if necessary.) Turn off the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Then add the peeled onion and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered for about 1 hour, or until the beans are tender. Check them from time to time, and add more boiling water to the pot if necessary. (The beans should be covered with water throughout the cooking.) Drain the beans through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pick out and discard the onion, and reserve the cooking liquid. There should be about 2 quarts; add water if necessary.
- In a deep bowl, mix the molasses, ¼ cup of the brown sugar, the dry mustard, the remaining 1 tablespoon salt, and the pepper. Pour in about ½ cup of the bean liquid and blend the ingredients well. Stir in 4½ cups of bean liquid, then add the beans, stirring them gently with a spoon until they are evenly coated. The beans should be covered by ½ inch. Add more bean liquid if necessary, and mix gently.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Place the clove-pierced onions in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart bean pot and ladle the bean mixture over them. Score the fatty side of the salt pork by making crisscrossing diagonal cuts about ½ inch deep and ½ inch apart all over the surface. Push the salt pork down into the beans, letting only the top edge protrude above them. Cover the pot with a piece of foil and set the lid securely in place.
- Bake the beans in the middle of the oven for 5 hours, adding more bean liquid if they become dry. Then remove the lid and foil, spread the remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar evenly over the beans, and bake for 1 hour longer. Serve the beans at once, directly from the pot. Leftover beans may be refrigerated in the same pot, tightly covered with foil or plastic wrap. They can safely be kept for about 1 week. The beans will continue to absorb the cooking liquid as they stand; add a little water to the pot before reheating the beans in the oven.