Maple Baked Beans
"Boston baked beans" are said to be named after the tradition of
Boston's Puritan women, who often prepared the dish for Saturday's
supper, then served leftovers for breakfast the next morning because
cooking on the Sabbath was forbidden.
1 pound navy or pea beans
optional, use "Great Northern" beans
⅓ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup tomato paste or crushed tomatoes
or, ½ can Tomato paste, ½ 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Optional, several slices of lean bacon, chopped
Pick the beans over, removing any rubble such as sticks and pebbles.
Rinse them well, then place in a large bowl with plenty of hot water.
Let soak for at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight. Drain, then
combine the beans with water to cover in a large pot.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer, partially covered, just
until tender — 1½ to 2 hours. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking
water, into a large bowl.
While the beans cook, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion,
pepper, and celery and sauté for several minutes, adding the garlic at
the end. Remove from the heat. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325F.
Whisk together 1 cup of the reserved cooking water, the maple syrup,
tomato puree, molasses, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and
parsley in a medium-sized bowl.
To the beans, add the sautéed vegetables and maple mixture; mix well.
Pour the beans into a large, shallow casserole and cover tightly. Bake
for 2 to 3½ hours. Check periodically to make sure they have
enough liquid, adding more of the reserved cooking water, if necessary.
Yield: About 6 servings