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Traditional Boston Baked Bean Recipe

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Traditional Boston Baked Bean Recipe

Traditional Boston Baked Bean Recipe

Photo © Flickr user Lee Coursey
This is my version of the traditional method for Boston's famous baked beans. There's a good reason this classic recipe has remained basically unchanged for over 200 years.

Serves 8 Portions of Boston Baked Beans

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried navy beans (white beans), rinsed and soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 strips smoked bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses

Preparation:

  1. Drain and rinse the pre-soaked beans. Add the beans to a heavy Dutch oven, or another type of sturdy ovenproof pot. One with a tight-fitting lid is very important.

  2. Add the water, bay leaf, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.

  3. Turn down the heat to low, and simmer partly covered (meaning leave the lid offset by about an inch) for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The beans will still be firm, but starting to get tender.

  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  5. Remove from the heat, and discard the bay leaf, but do not drain the cooking liquid.

  6. Stir in the mustard, brown sugar, molasses, onions, bacon, and remaining salt.

  7. Cover and bake for about 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Be sure to check the beans several times during the baking time in case you need to add a bit of water. It's important not to let the beans dry out. On the other hand, if it seems too watery, you can remove the lid until it thickens a bit.

  8. Remove the lid, give the mixture a stir, and cook for another 20 minutes to give the top a crust.

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