Boston Baked Beans
Soak the beans the night before you cook them. The next day, begin cooking seven hours before you plan to eat. Beans cooked in a six-quart terra-cotta bean pot have a richer flavor and finer texture, but you can also use a cast-iron Dutch oven.
- 2 pounds dried pinto or navy beans
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 4 canned plum tomatoes, seeded and crushed
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion (about 1 pound), peeled, halved
- 12 whole cloves
- 12 ounces salt pork
Soak the beans in cold water overnight in a large container. Drain in a colander.
Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine molasses, mustard, brown sugar, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Stud the onion halves with the cloves, and place in the bottom of a terra-cotta bean pot or Dutch oven.
Score the salt pork 1/4 inch deep 1 inch apart, and slice into two even pieces. Transfer to the bean pot. Add the soaked beans. Pour the molasses mixture over beans, stir, and cover. The liquid should cover the beans by 1/2 inch. Add more water if necessary.
Transfer to oven to bake, without stirring, until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 6 hours. Check the beans every 45 minutes, adding more hot water if necessary to keep beans slightly soupy at all times. For the last 50 to 60 minutes of cooking, uncover beans, and, using tongs or a long fork, pull the pork to the surface. Remove from oven, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.