Throughout its history, Boston has been linked to beans. Surely the lowly legume is not the sort of association city forefathers would have sought when striving to cast their city’s mark in the New World. But find each other they did — as evidenced by the names Beantown, Boston baked beans, Beanpot Hockey Tourney and the Boston bean pot, among others.
It hasn’t been until the 1900s, however, with its emphasis on healthy eating, that the homey image of a bubbling pot of beans has gained cache. Beans are of the moment, the very definition of what our food should be about — carbohydrate and fiber rich.
As anyone who’s ever done the cooking for a Boston ham-and-bean church supper will tell you: the ideal method for cooking beans is in a bean pot in the oven – to make Boston Baked Beans in the authentic old fashioned way. For that deliciously slow, sweetly fragrant baking, you want traditional pots and sturdy stoneware protecting your beans from burning or overcooking, while keeping them moist and tasty. This recipe embraces the traditional way of cooking authentic Boston baked beans.
OFFICIAL RECIPE for BOSTON BAKED BEANS
2-1/2 Quart Bean Pot Version
1 package (1 pound) navy or pea beans
1/4 pound salt pork, cut in 2 pieces
1 small whole onion, peeled
1 teaspoon dry mustard
8 cups water
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1) Soak beans overnight in a large sauce pan in 6 cups of water. Add baking soda. Heat to boiling and simmer 10 minutes. Drain in colander over a large bowl. Save liquid.
2) Place beans, salt pork and onion in the bean pot. Add molasses, salt, sugar, dry mustard, pepper and a cup of water. Stir thoroughly. Add enough water to cover the beans. Cover the bean pot.
3) Bake 2 hours at 300 degrees. Add the rest of the water and stir again. Bake additional 1-1/2 hours (or until beans are tender). Uncover last 1/2 hour.