Prep 15 mins
Cook 6 hrs 30 mins
The best baked beans I ever made, the cider adds a wonderful fruitiness. From "Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly", by Andrews McMeel, 2010, via Leite's Culinaria. Not having salt pork the first time I made these, I used thick-cut bacon on top and a smoked ham hock buried in the center. Still tasted yummy. Soaking time is not included as prep time.
- 3 cups dried pinto beans
- 3 cups fresh apple cider
- 8 ounces salt pork, thinly sliced (thick-cut bacon is an alternative)
- 2 small yellow onions, peeled and left whole
- 6 tablespoons molasses, preferably sorghum molasses
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Pick over the beans, discarding any stones and wrinkled beans. Rinse well and place in a large bowl. Add cold water to cover by 3 inches, cover, and let soak for 12 hours.
- Drain the beans and transfer them to a heavy saucepan. Add the cider and slowly bring the beans to a boil over medium heat. Gently boil, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C).
- Layer half of the salt pork slices on the bottom of a 2-quart ceramic bean pot or other deep baking dish, such as a Dutch oven. Spoon the beans into the pot and then bury the onions in the beans.
- In a small saucepan, combine the molasses, dry mustard, and salt and place over medium heat until the mustard and salt dissolve into the molasses. Pour the mixture evenly over the beans and top with the remaining salt pork slices. Add the reserved cooking liquid to the pot. Add hot water as needed to cover the beans with liquid. Cover the pot.
- Bake for 4 hours, then uncover the pot and add more water (or cider) if the beans seem dry. Recover and continue to bake for 1 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Serve hot, directly from the bean pot.