How to make Boston baked beans

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Baked beans might traditionally be cooked in a Dutch oven but make no mistake about it, everything about them screams "Casserole!" This traditional recipe for Boston baked beans does require the beans to soak overnight before being boiled and then being baked, but you can save yourself time by using canned navy beans - just make sure you use the plain kind, and not the kind that have already been baked.
But even when using canned beans, there is a trick to making the perfect baked beans. That is, to keep them moist enough that they soften and so some even burst apart, but not so saturated that the dish is soupy afterwards. This is achieved by stirring them just every so often, and adding a splash of water when needed. Other than that, it's really just a matter of cooking time and you're well on your way to the perfect baked beans.
Boston Baked Beans
12 hours
6 hours, 20 minutes
18 hours, 20 minutes
1 pound (450 grams) dried navy beans
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
2 cups (500 ml) smoked ham, cubed
1 onion, diced
½ cup (125 ml) molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) apple cider vinegar
Rinse navy beans and place them in a large stockpot and cover with an inch (2.5 cm) of water. Let soak overnight.
Drain the navy beans, rinse them again and place them back in the stockpot. Cover the navy beans with water, so that there is about two inches of water above the beans. Season with 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of salt and bring up to a rapid boil.
Lower heat, cover pot with a lid, and boil beans for 1 - 2 hours, until they are tender.
Drain navy beans, reserving cooking liquid.
Heat oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add smoked ham and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the onion and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the onion just begins to brown.
Add the softened beans, stir to combine and cook for another minute or so.
In a small bowl, combine the molasses, Dijon mustard, and ½ teaspoon (5 ml) of salt. Add to the pot, along with 3 cups (750 ml) of the cooking liquid.
Stir to combine all of the ingredients and bring the entire pot to a boil.
Preheat oven to 300 °Fahrenheit (150 °Celsius).
Place beans into the oven, uncovered, and let bake for about 4 hours. Stir two or three times throughout cooking, check the liquid level as you do, and never let it get below approximately 1 cup (250 ml) in the bottom of the pot.
Remove pot from the oven and stir in the apple cider vinegar.
Choose your favorite pork product to use in baked beans! Hot dogs, bacon, pancetta - it's all up for grabs!
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