Truly Baked Beans

© Katherine Stetson

The method for these fabulous baked beans comes from Luis Catinchi of southern New Hampshire and it is a method that debunks some old bean myths.  Firstly, soaking the beans is not necessary and, secondly, salting the beans (with salt pork) can be done early in the process without loosing any tenderness to the finished beans.

The flavorings in this recipe are of my own devising and can be swapped for your own favorites.  Generally, the dish is very forgiving as long as the cook keeps tasting and adjusting flavors during the second half of cooking.

A lidded 3-quart bean pot is essential.  Leftover beans freeze beautifully.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • 1 pound dried Navy beans
  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans
  • 6-8 cups spring water
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 pound salt pork (in one piece)
  • ½ – 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ – 1 cup maple syrup
  • ½ – 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • sea salt, to taste

Rinse beans and check for small pebbles.  Pour beans into bean pot along with salt pork, onion and water to cover by 2 inches.  Place pot with lid into oven and cook until the water begins to boil.  Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees.  Remove pot from oven and stir in mustard and ½ cup each of brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses.  Place pot with lid back in the oven for an additional 5-6 hours.  Check beans periodically to ensure sufficient water level is maintained.  When beans are tender enough to chew, check seasonings and adjust according to your preference for the remaining maple syrup, brown sugar or molasses.

Remove lid from pot for last hour or so to allow any extra water to evaporate.  (You may take out the salt pork at this point if you prefer not to serve it.)  When consistency and flavor is just right, remove beans from oven and serve!

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.