These beans call for an initial long soak. However, if you’re tight on time and your beans are relatively fresh, you can do a quick soak instead. Cover them with water by a couple of inches, bring to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes Remove from the heat and allow to soak, covered, for 1 hour.
Navy beans are easy to find and work well here. Heirloom varieties such as Yellow Indian Woman and Jacob's Cattle will make these baked beans extra special.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 1 pound dried navy beans, picked over to remove any impurities and rinsed well (see headnote)
- Filtered water
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces yellow onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
- 1/2 cup boiled cider (see related recipe)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Place the beans in a large, heavy nonreactive pot. Add enough filtered water to cover by 2 inches. Soak for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
Add the bay leaves; place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally (the cooking time will depend on the freshness of the beans), until the beans are just tender. Drain, reserving the liquid. Discard the bay leaves.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy, nonreactive lidded pot. Add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until fragrant, stirring a few times, then add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Stir in the powdered mustard, coriander, pepper and ginger.
Add the cooked, drained beans and stir gently to incorporate, then stir in the boiled cider, maple syrup and salt.
Pour in enough of the reserved cooking liquid to cover the beans by 1/2 inch (add filtered water if you don't have enough of the reserved cooking liquid). Cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees, uncover and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring once or twice as needed.
The beans are ready when their liquid has substantially reduced and the beans are lightly saucy.
From food writer Emily Horton.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.