Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't Sleep on Boston Baked Beans

When was the last time you made Boston baked beans? It's so easy to forget about the classics when brainstorming side dish options for regular weekday fare. You happily make these luscious legumes for those mid-summer picnics and potlucks, but why are they so seldom on the regular menu?

The beauty of serving a side dish of such renown is you can toss it next to some nondescript sausages, or slice of ham and still have what feels like a special meal. I'm sure most of us associate baked beans with pleasurable experiences, thus it passes the only real "comfort food" test of authenticity.

While some of you more cynical readers may think this post was just an easy way to test one of the classic American recipes going in the cookbook, and at the same time, a way to solicit some witty comments from Scott from Boston, well, okay…that's just about right. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
1 pound dry navy beans
6 cups water
pinch of baking soda
1 bay leaf
6 strips bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (traditionally salt pork is used, and if desired 4 ounces can be substituted for the bacon)
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

19 comments:

ARUNA said...

awesome!!!

Markus said...

Nice work Chef John

My recipe is very similar (just the right amount of brown sugar and molasses so it's not overly sweet)but I also like to add a little bit of tomato paste to cut out the sweetness and a pinch of ground cloves. It makes your kitchen smell SOOOO good.

My twist is to use smoked ham instead of bacon. It gives that same wonderful smokey flavour but also something to bite on.

Asian Malaysian said...

I heard somewhere that the baking soda helps get rid off the..erm.. post-dining bean related issue. Ofcourse it could have been someone talking out their um..yeah.

tracey said...

I grew up in a big family & my mom made everything from scratch - I never knew how good I had it or why all my friends wanted to eat at my house until I got older. I thought everybody's mom cooked that way. This is similar to my mom's recipe, but she always made a massive amount in a pressure cooker. Beans & homemade bread was dinner for our family pretty often.

Just voted for your blog over at Savuer - I 'm a frequent stalker but don't comment enough. Love your blog & have tried several of the recipes - my family thanks you. :)

Funny said...

Would you like to add the subtitles on the video also...because it's quite easy to know the step...thankyou very much!A fan of you from Hong Kong...

ghanima said...

At the risk of stealing Scott from Boston's thunder, do you realize that your baked beans recipe requires a dutch oven?

Chris K. said...

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Adding baking soda to the beans speeds the cooking time, as does molasses. Baking soda is alkaline, and molasses contains calcium - both of which aid in dissolving cellulose in the beans' cell walls. Science!

For a more southern Appalachian version, substitute sorghum molasses and salt pork, and play bluegrass music while it cooks.

In Ireland, they only cook 239 beans at the same time. Why? Because if you add any more, it'd be too farty...

Laso said...

What's the effect of the powdered mustard compared to using the regular old prepared yellow kind?

rosemary said...

The title made think you were going to talk about the dangers of consuming baked beans when you are about to go to bed.

Alec006 said...

hey john!! when your are using baking powder while cooking beans you are cuting down the side effects (GAS) heheh after you eat them.

Scott - Boston said...

A shout out! Thanks! What an honor! Now to the important stuff:

AAACK! Beans!?!? How did you know!?! My kryponite! Foiled! A shout out and then... then... beans! I'm melting!... melting!...
You're gonna make me wear out my exclamation mark key!

The title of this recipe really should've been: Bringin' The Thunder!!!
(btw, Ghanima, that reeeeally was an excellent one, but after making this recipe I'd be pretty careful about stealing anyone's "thunder").

Well Chef John, I've got nuttin'. Beans. Jeesh. What, are you still holding out on your peanut butter and Fluff recipe?

Damn. I can't even reference you're technique. Well... (a little help, Michele?)

Anyway, listen, I love Blazing Saddles as much as the next guy, but the only "baked bean" in my house is yours truly!

Yours Truly,
Scott - Boston

(no 'r's were harmed in the making of this comment)

Jesse said...

Roll that beautiful bean footage!

Chef John said...

Scott,
while your comment wasn't what I expected, it was exactly what I expected. I hope that makes sense to everyone and just not people that are reading this "baked."

Amy said...

I made these tonight to go along with slow cooked pulled pork and they were awesome.

Dinah said...

Hate to ask this but can this recipe be adapted to work in a crock pot?

Gaby said...

I only have pinto beans would those work too? Do I really need the dry mustard bc I don't have any.. =(

Kristin said...

Gaby, I don't know what Chef John would say, him being the real chef (and me just being a kitchen junkie by night and a geek by day) but I'd say break out whatever good prepared mustard you have in the fridge and use the pintos! In fact I think it would be interesting to try, being from the Southwest myself where pinto beans are a sacred thing.

fa49863e-ca39-11e2-8e9a-000bcdcb471e said...

Where are the written recipe steps? I can't find them!

fa49863e-ca39-11e2-8e9a-000bcdcb471e said...

Where are the written recipe steps? I can't find them!