Long and slow cooking, this earthy and aromatic bean recipe starts with dried beans (the best choices are pea, navy or white beans, or a mixture of all three) and gets big boosts of flavor from smoked bacon, sweet cider, molasses and spicy dried mustard.
- 4 cups dried beans
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1/2 pound lean slab smoked bacon or thick cut bacon
- 3 whole small onions, peeled
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup dark molasses or sorghum
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
Wash and sort through the beans to remove any that are split or broken. Soak in cold water overnight.
Drain the beans and add cider. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Cut 5 strips from the slab bacon and dice the remainder into ½-inch cubes. Set aside.
Using a Dutch oven or an earthenware bean pot, scatter the cubed bacon over the bottom. Transfer the beans and cider liquid into the pot. Coat the onions in the dry mustard and bury them in the beans, pushing down slightly. Drizzle the molasses over the top. Crisscross the strips of bacon on the top of the beans and add enough hot water to cover. Sprinkle the salt over the top.
Cover and bake until the beans are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 4 to 6 hours. If the beans seem to dry at any point in baking, add more hot water. Serve hot or warm.
Photo by Jodi Miller