Today is Memorial Day, the day we honor all Veterans who gave their live to serve our country. While my father survived WWII, I thought I would honor him along with our fallen Veterans with a dish named for his hometown, Boston Baked Beans. This is also a great dish to serve for Memorial Day cookouts. They go great with BBQ. I have also included a little story as to what makes them Boston Baked Beans.
This signature dish of Boston, Massachusetts dates from the 17th century, when the Puritan sabbath – a day on which work was forbidden – was observed from sundown on Saturday until Sunday evening. The baked beans would be started on Saturday morning and then left to cook slowly until dinnertime so that the Puritan housewife did not have to break the Sabbath to cook a meal. Leftover beans would then be served for Sunday breakfast or lunch. Boston baked beans were often baked in communal ovens by the local baker, who would collect bean pots from the townspeople on Saturday morning and return the pots of baked beans in time for dinner that night.
1 lb dried Navy Beans or 1 lb dried Great Northern Beans, rinsed and picked over
2 medium Onions, 1 peeled and left whole and 1 chopped
1/4 lb Salt Pork, diced
2/3 cup Molasses
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 3 inches. Or, alternatively, place the beans in a saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches; bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes; remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan with 8 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the whole onion, reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until beans are half tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the beans and discard the onion. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the salt pork for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, combine the chopped onion with the molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and cloves. Stir in 2 cups of water. Place the beans and reserved salt pork in a 2 1/2-quart casserole or bean pot. Add the bay leaf. Pour the onion-molasses mixture over the beans. Cover tightly and bake for 3 1/2 hours. Remove the cover, stir the beans, and continue baking, uncovered, for 30 minutes longer, discard the bay leaf before serving.
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