One of the awesome Christmas presents that I got this year was The River Cottage Meat Book, from my brother Gene. Mmmmm meat. This is much more than a cookbook; it is an in-depth guidebook on all things meat. And by all things, I'm talking from raising the animal all the way to curing the bacon. Of course, I spent much of Christmas day perusing the recipes and photos, and decided almost immediately that I had to make the Boston Baked Beans. This was one of those recipes that made J-Cat exclaim "Wow! It tastes like the real thing!". I don't really know why he thinks that what I make isn't actually the real thing, but I guess sometimes I too can be surprised by how things turn out. This recipe did indeed taste exactly like the real thing, even though I wasn't hardcore enough to actually cure my own bacon.
It was also an extremely easy recipe. It took many hours to cook, but the labor was pretty minimal. I had to buy a bottle of molasses for this recipe, which I really never cook with. But that just means that I'll have to look around for other fun recipes that call for molasses.
For the first night, I baked a loaf of Pioneer Bread to go with the beans, which I'll also post about shortly. The next morning it was baked beans on toast with fried eggs. Recipe after the jump:
BOSTON BAKED BEANS
Adapted from THE RIVER COTTAGE MEAT BOOK by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
1 pound dry navy beans
10 ounces slab bacon, salt pork, or pancetta
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon dry English mustard
3 small onions, quartered
salt and pepper, to taste
Soak navy beans in plenty of cold water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse beans and place in a dutch oven or ovenproof casserole with enough water to cover by two inches. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Cut bacon into 2-inch cubes and add to the simmering beans. Press the cloves into the onion quarters and add to the beans. Add the sugar, molasses, mustard, and pepper. Do not salt yet, as the bacon may add plenty of salt. Stir well to combine, then cover and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. After three hours, remove the cover, stir to bring the bacon to the surface, and return to the oven for another hour. Test for seasoning and add salt if necessary.