Boston Baked Beans Recipe
Boston Cooking School, 1880s
1 quart pea beans
1 onion (if desired)
1/4 pound salt pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup molasses
Soak beans in cold water overnight. In the morning put them into fresh cold water, and simmer until soft enough to pierce with a pin, being careful not to let them boil enough to break. If you desire, boil one onion with them. When soft, turn them in a colander, and pour cold water through them. Place them with the onion in a bean pot.
Pour boiling water over the salt pork, part fat and part lean, and scrape the rind until white. Cut the rind in half-inch strips, and bury them in the beans, leaving only the rind exposed. Mix the salt?more, if the pork is not very salty?and mustard with the molasses. Fill the cup with hot water, and when well mixed pour it over the beans; add enough more water to cover them. Bake eight hours in a moderate oven. Keep them covered with water until the last hour; then lift the pork to the surface and let it crisp. Use more salt and one-third cup of butter if you dislike pork, or use half a pound of fat and lean corned beef.
The mustard gives the beans a delicious flavor, and also renders them more wholesome. Many add a teaspoonful of soda to the water in which the beans are boiled, to destroy the acid in the skin of the beans. Yellow-eyed beans and lima beans are also good when baked.
Much of the excellence of baked beans depends upon the bean pot. It should be earthen, with a narrow mouth and bulging sides. This shape is seldom found outside of New England, and is said to have been modeled after the Assyrian pots. In spite of slurs against "Boston Baked Beans," it is often remarked that strangers enjoy them as much as locals; and many a New England bean pot has been carried to the extreme South and West, that people there might have "baked beans" in perfection. They afford a nutritious and cheap food for people who labor in the open air.