One of my favorite and most special dishes my Mom would make, while growing up, was Baked Beans with homemade bread. I remember coming home from school, to the wonderful smell of rising bread and I would be so excited. There was just something so comforting about this dinner. Over the years I've really missed my Mom's baked beans. She makes them in the pressure cooker, so I've always been hesitant of making any in the crock pot or the oven. I took the plunge last night and it was very interesting, LOL. First of all, once I put the soaking liquid back into the pot, with the beans and condiments, the beans started floating, so I really couldn't tell if I had enough water. I added more, which was my first mistake. 5 hrs later and the beans were still swimming in liquid. I drained the liquid into a pot and reduced to until super thick. Then I poured it back into the beans. The second mistake was, I did not put the partridge in at the beginning. I was afraid that it would over cook and be tough. Well, I put it in 45 minutes before the beans were done and it came out super tough. (Partridge tastes like dark chicken meat, times five). None the less we ate it and mixed in with the beans it wasn't so bad, LOL. Not quite like what Mom use to make, but pretty darn good if you ask me.
New England Baked Beans
Adapted from Cooks.com
1 pound dry navy beans (or other small white bean)
1 1/4 C. brown sugar
1 C. ketchup (may sub chili sauce for more kick)
1/2 C. dark molasses
2 T. your favorite mustard
2 T. vinegar
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
Sort and rinse beans, then place in a large pot and cover with water plus 3 inches. Let beans soak 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse then add fresh water to cover. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid. Place beans and all remaining ingredients in a 6 quart pot. Mix well. Add enough of the cooking water to cover plus about 1/2 inch above. Cover tightly and place in preheated 325 degree oven. Bake for 4-5 hours, stirring a couple times, and adding liquid if they start to get dry.
Cindy's notes: I like to add partridge or chicken breast to my beans. They soak up the sweet molasses taste and it's heavenly. If you decide to do this, add the meat before baking the beans in the oven.