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It just isn't New England without these! For years I was up at 4.30am on a Saturday morning to make my beans. Traditionally served on a Saturday night, these were originally had with fish cakes and cabbage salad which is not quite cole slaw and served cold the next morning in sandwiches; great with raw sliced onion and a bit of mustard. Thanks nanny! I will post that cabbage salad recipe as well. Now, it is usually served with baked ham or hot dogs. Be sure to keep a check on your water covering the beans. These will not be overly sweet. The salt pork is extremely traditional and the meatier the better. This is eaten with the beans as well. It can be omitted for those who cannot have or find it and they are still scrummy. This recipe can be halved easily.
- 2 lbs dried white pea beans (small white beans) or 2 lbs navy beans (small white beans)
- 2 medium onions, whole
- 4 -6 ounces salt pork, meaty cut into chunks (optional)
- 1 cup molasses
- 3⁄4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle juice or 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1⁄16 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups water
- Soak beans over night or do a quick soak method. If soaking, drain soaking water, replace with new and boil the beans 30 minutes. I know what crock pots say about beans and sorry companies, this works!
- Place onions and salt pork in bottom of pot.
- Pour in beans drained of water.
- Mix the next 7 ingredients in a saucepan and bring just to the boil stirring occasionally. Pour over beans in pot.
- Add water to cover beans and cook on low 10-12 hours (or more) topping with water if necessary.
- Stir every 2 hours and cook with lid off for final 2 hours to thicken. I usually find that I need to stop adding water at this point and stir occasionally as beans will "appear" dried out on top; this is how they should look. Just stir.
- These should be saucy rather than liquidy or dry. a thick sauce. Unfortunately this is not a crock pot recipe which can be left unattended for more than 2-3 hours.
- Eating the onions is one of the best parts! I used to only use 1 until my mother began screaming give me an onion!
- These freeze very well. Freeze in plastic containers or bags and thaw at room temperature. Re-heat adding a bit of water if necessary as they *can* thicken upon freezing.