Imagine my surprise last week when I found out part of her secret is using cans of already-baked beans in her baked beans!! That plus some molasses and Karo syrup. So, I guess she's the precursor to Sandra Lee's Semi-homemade.
As much as I love my grandmother's baked beans, I had to figure out how to make some beans without using canned beans. Two weeks ago, I briefly mentioned my first attempt in my Red Wine Spaghetti post. It was beyond disastrous. I used pinto beans and put in enough molasses to kill even more people than the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 did (No, I'm not kidding. There really was a molasses disaster!). Baby girl started crying the next day when her unsuspecting nanny put a bowl in front of her. I had failed miserably.
But then, after chatting with my grandmother, I had a better idea of how to go about it. I used less molasses, a dab of Karo syrup, dried mustard and a can of diced tomatoes. While the accessories aren't local, the beans are, hailing from Cayuga Pure Organics up in Ithaca, New York. I switched to navy beans which are closer to the small white beans old Boston Baked Bean recipes call for. I cooked them for about 6 hours and they were really tasty. Another bonus? They don't make baby girl cry!
Boston Baked Beans... my way
(These are great as a side in the summer for cold dishes like ham or for, ahem, Esther's Fried Chicken. Since Sunday, I've been eating them every night with a salad and a buttered roll. Make sure to use that roll wisely and sop up the sauce.)
What You'll Need:
1 pound dried Navy Beans (soaked overnight in plenty of water)
1 large Onion chopped
7 oz bacon cut into bite sized chunks (if you can find a big piece of bacon, I find that tastes even better than pre-sliced)
1/2 cup Molasses
1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp Karo Syrup
1-2 tbsp dried Mustard (like Coleman's)
1 32 oz can of diced tomatoes1 tbsp Molasses (for later)
6 cups Water
1 tsp Salt
6 cups Water
1 tsp Salt
Preheat the oven to 350.
Place a stockpot or dutch oven over a medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper toweled plate. Pour off all but about a teaspoon of bacon fat. Add the onions and cook until softened.
In a small bowl, mix the molasses with the mustard powder and Karo syrup and set aside.
Once the onions are softened, return the bacon to the pot and add the beans, tomatoes, molasses mixture, water and salt. Stir well, bring to a boil, cover and pop into the oven.
After 4 hours, add the extra tablespoon of molasses and stir. Cover and put back in the oven. After another hour, uncover the beans and cook until the liquid is thick and the beans are soft. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Approximate Cost:Groceries: $9
Cost per Meal: Expect a million gagillion servings. Seriously, it's a bottomless pit.