Beans and bacon bubbling away slowly in a low oven. The smell of slowly caramelizing onions and garlic with an overtone of smokey molasses fills the house. Bottles of lager are chilling in the fridge.
Boston baked beans is not a dish that can be made on a whim. The process takes a bit of forethought. The beans must be soaked, cooked, and then cooked again. This is also one of those dishes that improves the longer the flavors are allowed to meld together. Braising the night before the big meal gives all the components time to come together.
This recipe is adapted from The River Cottage Meat Cookbook,
- Navy beans 2 1/2 c
- Bacon 1/4lb
- Shallot 2-3
- Garlic 2-3 cloves
- Brown sugar 1/4c
- Molasses 3T
- English Mustard 1T
- Chicken stock ~2-3 cups (enough to cover the beans)
- Rosemary small stem
- Bay leaf 1
The beans were soaked on Wednesday morning. That evening they were cooked in chicken stock with rosemary and bay leaf until the beans were fork tender.
On the following evening the cooked beans were combined in a pan with the remaining ingredients. The bacon should be cut into wide lardons. The shallot and garlic peeled and halved. These two items are added to give the dish’s flavor added depth. They can be removed before eating. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the beans. Stir to combine.
Braise the dish in a 250˚F oven for three hours covered. The lid can be removed for the last part of cooking if too much liquid remains.
The beans will be enjoyed tomorrow night with thick slices of crusty bread and those cold bottles of lager. A filling, relaxing meal to close out the week.