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Boston Baked Beans w/ Peppers & Onions

1 lb. dried great northern or navy beans; or 2 14.5-oz. cans of either
1 1/2 teaspoons salt if using dried beans, 1/4 teaspoon if canned
2 oz. (2 or 3 slices) bacon, lean center cut, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 red or green bell peppers or 1 of each, chopped
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon spicy brown prepared mustard
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. If using dried beans, pick through and remove any small rocks or bits of dirt. Transfer beans to a colander and rinse well. Place beans in a large pan and add teaspoon salt and enough cold water to cover beans – about 3 inches. On high heat, bring beans to a rolling boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover and let stand 1 hour.

2. Increase heat to medium-high, uncover beans and bring back to boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 to 2 hours or until beans are tender. Add more water during cooking time if necessary to keep beans well covered.

3. Drain beans well, reserving liquid. If using canned beans, omit steps 1. and 2.,
and start by draining beans and reserving liquid.

4. Using a 3-quart Dutch oven or flame proof casserole, sauté bacon, onions, garlic and peppers on medium heat until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add molasses, brown sugar, mustards, catsup, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add drained beans and enough reserved liquid to cover and mix all ingredients together well.

5. Cover beans and place in oven at 350º F. Bake beans until bubbling, about 1 hour. Reduce heat to 250º F. and bake 4 to 6 hours if dried beans were used, or 1 to 2 hours if canned beans were used. Stir beans about every hour. As beans cook they will absorb liquid, this is especially true for dried beans. Continue adding enough liquid to keep beans moist, but not soupy. If canned beans were used, additional liquid may not be necessary, however beans should still be stirred.

After beans have finished cooking they can remain in a 200º F. oven for an additional 1 to 2 hours if desired. Beans are done when fragrant, thick and a deep brownish red.

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