My mother baked beans every Saturday night, and she usually made coleslaw and hot biscuits to go with them. There were six of us children in the family and Mama let us take turns choosing which kinds of beans we’d have, which meant that i had to wait six weeks for my favorite. I liked these “little beans” or pea beans, flavored with Maine maple syrup and molasses.
Yield: Serves 10
1 pound dried pea or navy beans
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, peeled
One ¼ pound chunk salt pork
1. Soak the beans in cold water to cover overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
3. Drain the beans and combine in a 2½-quart bean pot or covered casserole with the maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the onion and salt pork. Pour enough boiling water over the beans to cover them by ½ inch.
4. Bake, covered, for 6 hours, or until the beans are almost tender. Check every hour or so and if the sauce is below the level of the beans, add more boiling water to cover the beans. Uncover and finish cooking for an additional 45 to 60 minutes, until the beans are tender and a rich brown and the sauce is lightly thickened.
You can also make this recipe with other dried beans such as Great Northern, yellow-eyes, or Jacob’s cattle.