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New England Baked Beans Recipe
Updated April 24, 2018.
Savor America’s colonial history when you enjoy this rich New England baked beans recipe; it’s naturally gluten-free.
A short time after we married, we visited my husband’s extended family in New England and stayed with his grandparents. Grandma dished up her New England baked beans recipe for supper one fine day when autumn colors were at their peak . . . brilliant and beautiful . . . like nothing I’d ever seen before!
I grew up on canned pork and beans . . . yuck! I thought all baked beans tasted bad.
Was I ever wrong!
Imagine my delight when I tasted the golden sweetness of maple, bacon and caramelized beans.
Moreover, Grandma’s New England baked beans recipe had been passed on to her, as it had to all wives of the family, down through the generations.
The origin of the family pedigree has been traced from Lincolnshire, England back in time to 1598, where family ancestors landed in North America in 1630 as members of a grand fleet who settled and named Boston, Massachusetts. From there descendants gradually settled other areas of New England, including Vermont, and a small number emigrated to the west coast, California and Oregon. Today’s descendants are numerous, inhabiting a great portion of the United State, and all are related to the original sire.
Living in the New World was very tough for the early colonials, who lived mostly on beans and salt pork, especially when snowed in during the long, harsh winter months.
Inheriting the family's New England baked beans recipe is a cherished honor, one filled with warm memories, especially now, since Grandma has passed way. The family’s history lives on in its food traditions.
Grandma's New England baked beans recipe yields a BIG batch, enough to feed a large family or a crowd of friends. It’s a potluck favorite (the pot always comes home empty) and leftovers freeze well.
Traditionally served with fresh baked Boston brown bread (make yours gluten-free), you can turn this delicious main dish into a highly nutritious meal by serving coleslaw and ice cold milk on the side.
New England Baked Beans Recipe
By Cat McMahon
Who knew history could taste so good?! Even bean haters rave about how much they love Grandma's to die for New England Baked Beans; it is an authentic family recipe passed down through the ages, from one of the founding families of America's earliest colonies. From my family to yours . . . enjoy!
- 2 pounds dry beans (small white beans, black-eyed peas, navy beans or yellow-eyed beans)
- 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
1. Sort beans, culling discolored, misshapen and broken beans.
2. Rinse beans in cold water.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cover beans with cold water.
4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and then soak beans overnight at room temperature.
5. Using a colander, drain and rinse the beans in cold water.
6. Place beans in a large Dutch oven and cover with cold water.
7. Bring beans and water to a boil, cover, and then simmer for 1 hour; skim off foam as necessary.
8. Drain and rinse beans in hot water, and then return to the Dutch oven.
9. Preheat oven to 325°F.
10. Into the beans, stir in bacon, brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, dry mustard, ginger and black pepper until well mixed.
11. Pour beans into a very large large bean pot or large casserole dish.
12. Add enough hot water to just cover the top of the beans, and then cover the bean pot with foil.
13. Bake for 6 hours, or until beans are soft and are golden brown, and the liquid is reduced to a nice sauce.
14. While baking, stir beans every hour and make sure beans remain moist; add a little hot water if necessary to maintain sauce.
15. Remove from oven and stir in salt.
16. Serve hot.