Maine Recipes: Maine Baked Beans

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Maine Baked Beans
These beans take a lot prep and cook time, but there’s nothing better. There were the staple of our week, when I was growing up … we had them Wednesday and Saturday … and we made cold bean sandwiches for school lunches from the left overs (using homemade yeast bread, of course!).


Ingredients:
2 pounds of beans (usually pea beans, yellow eye beans, soldier beans, jacob’s cattle)
1/2 pound of salt pork,
1/4 cup sugar,
1/2 cup molasses for light or 2/3 cup molasses for dark,
2 teaspoons dry mustard,
1/2 teaspoon black pepper,
1 1/2 teaspoon salt,
one onion (optional)

Preperation:
To Begin: two pounds of dried beans - usually pea beans, yellow eye beans, soldier beans, jacob’s cattle. For those of you who have never had baked beans, they can be prepped in two ways:
1) soak overnight in cold water
2) par boil
If you choose option one: be sure the pan you choose will hold the two pounds of beans, once the beans have soaked up the cold water you are going to cover them with.
If you choose option two: par boil the beans (starting w/ cold water), until their skins break apart, when you blow on them.
On the day you bake the beans, preset oven for 375 deg. The first two hours of baking are at 375 deg, the last four hours are at 350 deg.
Whether you use option one or two, the next step is the same: Drain the beans and place in bean pot, then add the rest of the ingredients listed below.

1/2 pound of salt pork,
1/4 cup sugar,
1/2 cup molasses for light or 2/3 cup molasses for dark,
2 teaspoons dry mustard,
1/2 teaspoon black pepper,
1 1/2 teaspoon salt,
one onion (optional)
OPTION: I have discovered that if you place a piece of dried kelp/seaweed in pot w/ beans, that the gaseous nature of the beans is ‘tamed.’ The dried kelp can usually be found in the health food section of your food stores. You place the drained beans and the above ingredients in the bean pot, then cover everything with hot water. Keep a close watch for the first two hours and add more hot water as needed.

Maine tradition serves this bean dish w/ fried ham slices or hot dogs, coleslaw, or green salad. Brown bread, corn bread, or a homemade yeast bread are nice additions.

  Source: From Lillian Ward’s Kitchen