Maine Baked Beans
- 1 lb dry beans (2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- few grains black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- ½ lb salt pork about
- 2 ½ cups boiling water
Pick over the dry beans. Wash them. Place in a good-size bowl. Cover with cold water and allow to soak overnight. Forget to do it? Never mind. In the morning, parboil them in water to cover, just until skins wrinkle. I never parboil beans unless I forget to soak them—just overnight soaking is enough.
In the morning, drain beans. Place in a beanpot. Mix all seasonings together in small bowl. Turn into beanpot on top of soaked, drained beans and mix together until all beans are coated with seasonings. Be careful not to add too much molasses, as it can cause beans to harden as they bake.
Add boiling water, about 2 ½ cups, or enough to cover beans in pot. Score salt pork by making gashes in it. Wash pork in hot water. Place it on top of beans. Cover beanpot. Beans are now ready to go into oven. A low temperature is needed, around 250°F for 8 hours of baking—although they should not be stirred, they do need attention occasionally, for they need to be kept covered with boiling water at all times. The beanpot itself needs to be kept covered until the last hour of baking, then, remove cover so the beans will brown on top.
Are you longing for baked beans, yet salt pork is eliminated from your diet? Then do exactly as given above, only in place of ½ pound of salt pork, use 4 tablespoons cooking oil per pound dry beans, or 2 tablespoons cooking oil per cup of dry beans.
From Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish