Baked beans flavored with molasses, maple syrup, and rum, this filling New England style dish is simple to prepare; all it takes is time. Six hours of cooking yields thick, rich results. Serve it with hearty brown bread to mop up its flavorful sauce. This baked beans recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Gabriella Gershenson's article Full of Beans.
- 1 lb. dried navy beans, picked over and rinsed
- 1 medium yellow onion, ends trimmed, peeled, and left whole
- 4 whole cloves
- 8 oz. slab bacon or salt pork, trimmed and cut into 2″ x 14″ pieces
- 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1⁄4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 2 tsp. dry mustard powder
- 1⁄2 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. dark rum
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring the beans and 10 cups of water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the saucepan with a lid, and let the beans sit for 1 1⁄2 hours. (This "quick soak" produces effects similar to those achieved by soaking the beans in water overnight.) Drain the beans in a colander, and discard the cooking liquid.
Heat oven to 250°. Stud the onion with the cloves and place in a 4-qt. Dutch oven along with the beans, bacon, maple syrup, molasses, dry mustard, and 3 cups boiling water; stir to combine. Cover pot with a lid, and place in the oven; cook, lifting the lid and stirring occasionally, for 3 hours. Stir in ketchup and vinegar. Cover with lid again, and return to the oven; cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick glaze, about 3 hours more.
Stir in rum; season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls; serve with brown bread, if you like.