Crave: Baked beans for all seasons
photo by: Courtesy of Mother Earth News
Baked beans are just as welcome at summer barbecues as they are at winter socials. They can be a side dish, a main course, or easy leftovers. They even go well on a breakfast plate.
Baked Beans with Salt Pork
2 pounds mixed dried beans
6 ounces salt pork, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1 ham hock, optional
1⁄4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 1⁄4 cups dark maple syrup
1 large onion, quartered
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1⁄2 teaspoons dry mustard
3⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
Rinse and drain beans, and place in large bowl or stockpot. Add enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Soak for 10 to 12 hours or overnight. Drain well.
Place beans in 5-quart bean pot or Dutch oven, and add enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, skimming foam from surface. Add water as needed. Remove from heat and drain.
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Fill medium stockpot halfway with water and bring to simmer. Add drained beans. Add salt pork, ham hock, molasses, syrup, and onion. Stir in salt, ginger, mustard, pepper, and thyme. Mix well. Add enough hot water to cover beans by 1 inch.
Cover pot and transfer to oven. Bake for 4 1⁄2 to 6 hours, or until beans are soft, adding water as needed.