It’s been snowing here off and on for two days. Monday afternoon I made up a big pot of homemade Vermont Baked Beans from my new book, The New England Yankee Cookbook. At first the whole idea of making beans on a snowy winter day seemed quite idealitic.
The process to make homemade beans is a long one. You have to soak the beans overnight and then bake them in the oven for 3-4 hours. Traditionally, you bake your beans in a ceramic bean pot. I got my bean pot from my mom. Newer versions can be found online. Scour antique shops in New England for the real thing. After an afternoon of tending to my beans I was anticipating the most glorious bean flavor ever. I served them in bowls over warmed brown bread. Greg wasn’t nearly excited about my bean feast. He thought it was bit strange that we would be eating just beans and bread for dinner. I consoled him, “If they are bad we can get takeout.”
My first reaction, “Wow they taste just like B&M canned beans.” Smoky, maple syrupy, and tangy. B&M based in Portland, Maine prides themselves on cooking their beans the New England way—using bean pots, salt pork and baked them in brick ovens. I’m not one to recommend canned products but in this scenario canned baked beans are just as good and a lot less work. B&M has really mastered the art of making homemade beans in a can. Next time, I probably just buy a can and focus my time on making a more substantial dinner like ribs rather then tending beans. Below the recipe adapted from The New England Yankee Cookbook.
Baked Beans With Vermont Maple Syrup
1 quart pea beans
1/2 pound fat salt pork
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons salt
Soak beans overnight. In the morning drain and rinse beans. Put a chopped onion in the bottom of bean pot; add beans. Mix syrup, mustard and salt and sprinkle over beans. Put pork down into beans so only the rind shows. I used diced canadian bacon in place of fat salt pork. Pour boiling water to cover.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 3-4 hours, adding water to cover. Beans will cook down to a thick sauce.