It isn’t hard to make a pot of classic sweet-and-sour baked beans starting from dried beans. This is a base recipe which you might make once, then fine-tune to your preferences on future renditions. Serves 8-12.
1 lb dried beans (some variety of white beans preferred, but I’ve also used limas)
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes OR 1 c ketchup and 1/2 c water
2 T cider vinegar
2 T brown sugar
2 T molasses*
1/4 c olive oil or bacon fat
2 t dry mustard
1/2 t Tabasco
1 t salt
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 small green pepper, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
4-6 slices bacon (optional)
Method: cover beans with a generous amount of cold water in a large pot, bring to boil, cook 1 1/2 minutes, turn off heat, cover and leave in a cool place overnight. In the morning the beans should be well expanded but not tender. Add (or subtract) water if necessary so beans are just covered; simmer 1 1/2 hours until beans are just tender. Add water if necessary; discard any excess when finished. Add all other ingredients except sliced onions and optional bacon; stir well to combine. Cover top with sliced onions and optional bacon. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour, covered; remove lid last 1/2 hour to crisp the top. Serve at the table out of the cooking pot.
- If you don’t have molasses, increase vinegar and sugar to 3 T each.