Not strictly traditional but close and very tasty. Dried beans, even the same kind of bean, can vary quite a bit in cooking time so start this one early. It only gets better with time. Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.
- 1 lb dried white pea beans (other beans may be substituted but increase cooking time)
- 4 ounces bacon, diced
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 4 -5 cups water (start with 4)
- 2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons chili sauce, such as Heinz (or ketchup)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- black pepper, freshly ground to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Wash and pick through the beans.
- Place in a large pot, cover with a few inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let sit covered for 1 hour.
- Drain in a colander and rinse and dry pot to use again.
- Heat pot over medium heat and add bacon, cooking to almost crisp. You may remove most of the rendered fat but I like to leave it in for the flavour.
- Add onions and saute for 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute a couple more minutes until both are softening but not brown.
- Add 4 cups of the water, the molasses, syrup, chile sauce, mustard, worcestershire and pepper. Bring to a boil.
- IMPORTANT: do not add any salt or the vinegar. These must be added at the very end or the beans may not soften.
- Add drained beans, bring to a boil again and then place in a large casserole dish or roaster and cover.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees. Check after 2 hours for doneness and for liquid level, then every half hour after that. If beans are not done but liquid is almost gone add a small amount of water. Don't add too much especially toward the end.
- When beans are very soft carefully stir in the vinegar and salt to taste. Let rest 20 minutes before serving.
- I like to transfer these to a crockpot when they are almost all soft and keep on low for a few hours, checking now and then.