Boston baked beans

This can be made the traditional way, in an oven, or in a slow cooker, which is actually a bit easier because you do not have to pay as much attention. Do not use canned beans as they are already very well cooked and will end up mushy with the additional cooking required.

1 lb dry navy beans
1 medium onion
6 oz bacon
3 TB molasses
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 c ketchup
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1/4c brown sugar, or to taste (optional)

Cook the beans according to package directions until just tender (but see note below). Drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Dice the bacon and onion and add to the beans. Put the remaining ingredients, except brown sugar, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add to the beans and mix well. Transfer the beans to a heavy baking dish, one that’s not too wide so the beans don’t dry out. Alternately, put the bean mixture in a slow cooker. Add enough bean liquid to just cover the beans (or plain water if you run out of bean liquid). Cover and bake at 325f, or at the slow cooker setting that gives you a slow simmer, for 3 hours. Every hour or so check the beans, stir, and add more liquid if needed. If needed, adjust oven temp 5 degrees at a time to maintain the beans at a slow, even simmer. Taste the beans and add the brown sugar if you want them a bit sweeter. Remove the cover and continue baking/cooking for an additional 2 hours, adding liquid as needed.

Note about beans: It is a common misconception that you must soak dry beans before cooking. You can, of course, but all it does is shorten the cooking time. You can simply cover the unsoaked beans generously with water (because they’ll absorb a lot) and bring to a simmer until tender. If you want to reduce the beans’ “gas generating” effect, cover unsoaked beans generously with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, and let sit for 1 hour. Drain, cover with fresh water, and finish cooking.

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