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Cider Baked beans August 2, 2015

Posted by aquillam in recipe.
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The original version of this recipe is from Jeff Smith’s “The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American”, from which I stole most of the last paragraph.
2 cups dry navy beans
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
water
1 strip bacon
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 pound thick cut bacon, diced, or salt pork
12 oz cider (hard or sweet)
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 – 3 tablespoons brown sugar (1 for dry hard cider, 3 for late season fresh cider)
1/4 teaspoon. black pepper
Pick over and rinse the beans. If you have the time, soak the beans overnight.
Place the beans and baking soda in a large kettle, Add water until the beans are completely covered with 2 – 3 inches of liquid. Simmer for about 30 minutes for soaked beans, 1 – 1.5 hours if you didn’t soak them. They should be slightly firm but not at all crunchy. 
When you start the beans, also cook the strip of bacon over low heat in a covered pan to render the fat. Keep the heat low so it doesn’t brown much. Once it does start to brown and the bacon is somewhat crisp,  remove the bacon and sauté the onion in the fat. Drain and set aside. Eat the bacon. It’s your reward for the extra work of sautéing the onions. 
Drain the beans when they are done.
Place 1/3 of the beans in a 2-quart baking pot with lid. Add 1/3 of the diced bacon and 1/3 of the onion. Add another 1/3 of the beans and repeat the layers, ending with bacon on top. Mix the remaining ingredients with the cider and pour over the beans. If necessary, add enough additional hot water or cider to just cover the beans (it’s ok if a few stick up a little.) Place the lidded baking pot in a 300° oven for about 4 hours, longer if the beans are not tender. Stir only once or twice during the cooking process. You will have to add additional water or cider to the beans as they cook. Keep them just moist. Don’t drown them out!
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