Baked Beans

Every fall since childhood, I've watched my grandmother make these beans. When I was 18, and finally moved out into my own place, one of the first things I purchased for my kitchen was a bean pot. You can't find too many of them in stores anymore, but you can find them online at Amazon and a few other places. You don't need to spend more than about $20-30 to get a good one.  Amazon does have one that isn't too expensive. You want one that looks like this. You can also use a Le Creuset dutch oven with the cover, although you don't need to.

I make a big batch of these babies at least once a month from September to February. The molasses and mustard give it a nice complex flavor, and the apple gives it a bit more sweetness. Try them over a baked potato with just a bit of Gorgonzola or sharp cheddar. Or just as they are.

 

To make it: 

The recipe is pretty simple: soak about a cup and a half of beans overnight. I use a few different varieties, including Money and Calypso beans (available from a small grower here in MA), but I also use Dark Red Kidney beans quite often. 

When you're ready to make the beans, drain them and rinse them with cold water. In the beanpot, combine:
1/2 cup of molasses;
1/2 cup of brown sugar;
a heaping tablespoon of good stoneground mustard;
a pinch of salt and pepper;
one apple, quartered and cored;
one onion, peeled and quartered.

Pour the beans into the pot and give it a good stir, then cover with cold water and stir again. Cover the pot and bake it in a 350°F oven for about 6 hours, stirring about every hour or so, until beans are soft and most of the liquid has thickened into a sauce. You may need to add a bit of water during the cooking process; the beans should always be covered with water. Also, many recipes call for salt pork or some bacon; you can absolutely add that if you want to, but I never have, and the beans come out wonderful.