Nana's New England Maple Baked Beans
Sara St. Peter
- 2 lbs. soldier beans (redeye beans)
- ½ medium sweet onion chopped
1 ½ cups Maple Sugar (can do 50/50 maple sugar and cane sugar if the maple is too strong for you)
- 2 tablespoons molasses (black strap is preferred)
- 1 tablespoon salt (pink Himalayan is preferred)
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 slices of bacon (or salt pork)
½ cup maple syrup
- Option — If you can’t get soldier beans you can substitute great northern beans, but they absorb more water than soldier especially if you’re using a cast-iron pot.
- Soak your soldier beans overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
In the morning, drain your beans and rinse them. Add your beans to a large stock pot and cover them with water. Throw your ½ onion into the pot whole or dice for a more intense flavor. Parboil your beans on high heat until the outer layer of the skins starts to crack and peel.
- Drain the beans in a colander (do not rinse again because the beans will become mushy) and add to a bean pot/cast iron pot/or crockpot, onion included. The type of pot has an effect on the consistency of the beans. A bean pot will make a firmer bean while a crockpot will result in a softer bean. Add maple sugar, molasses, mustard, ginger, cinnamon, and Maple Syrup to your beans. If using salt pork or a salty cut of bacon, hold off on adding salt until the beans cook a while or you’ll over-salt your beans. Himalayan salt is less salty than common table salt so you’ll need to adjust accordingly. Cover the beans with water, and stir.
- Roll your bacon (or salt pork) up into a pinwheel shape and place it in the center of your beans (it’s okay if the bacon doesn’t stay in the shape).
- Bake your beans until they start to gently bubble, about 2 hours, then reduce heat to 350° F. Continue to bake until they’re softened to your preference, usually about 4-6 hours tasting about every half hour for constancy (when using a bean pot or cast iron pot). You must taste your beans as time goes on to make sure they’re done to your liking. If you’re using a crockpot your beans will lose less water and not need as much tending. If you taste your beans and they’re dry and sticky, you can add a small amount of water at a time, generally around ¼ cup, then wait at least a half hour before checking consistency again. Too much water too fast will turn your beans into soup!
- Salt to taste.
- They’re done when you like them!
We like to cook our leftovers down so we can use them in burritos! If you like a heartier bean, you can too!
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