Baked Beans

Save some of this hearty side to enjoy with a traditional English breakfast!

If preferred, substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar, as is done in Vermont. Usually, beans are soaked overnight to soften them, but sometimes they can start to ferment. Using the method described here, you can substitute a longer cooking time for the overnight soak. A deep pot, such as an earthenware bean pot, works best.

Makes 8 cups


1 pound dried Great Northern or navy beans
½ pound salt pork
1 tablespoon dry mustard
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup molasses
2 tablespoons ketchup (optional)
Salt (optional)
Freshly milled black pepper (optional)


Wash the beans, place in a nonreactive pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Cover the pot and let the beans sit while you assemble the remaining ingredients. Drain the beans, saving the water.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Cut the salt pork into thin pieces, leaving the skin side whole. Put the beans in a deep baking pot, layering the salt pork pieces every inch or two. Add the dry mustard, brown sugar, and molasses to the liquid, and pour over the beans. Add extra water if needed. Remember that the beans will swell as they cook. Cover the pan and bake for 4 to 6 hours, adding water if needed. If you wish, add 2 tablespoons ketchup during the last hour of cooking. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

From the "Legal Sea Foods Cookbook" by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren.

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