The Prince Spaghetti Company was a local company that started in Boston and later moved to Lowell. Anyone who grew up in Massachusetts remembers this:
So, when I was growing up, Wednesday was usually “Prince spaghetti day”, Friday was sometimes “fish day” and Saturday was always “hot dogs and beans day”. There used to be a restaurant in Lawrence, MA that we’d go to on Fridays that served fish and chips. (That’s fried fish with french fries.) The thing I remember most about this restaurant was that each table had a miniature music player that, if I remember correctly, was just like this:
Pretty nifty, huh? They sell for big bucks on ebay, now!
Our Saturday meal consisted of hotdogs, either grilled or boiled and Boston baked beans. Sometimes, it was the canned variety, usually B&M baked beans, another New England company that was started up in Maine (or “Down East” if you’re a local). Other times, our Mom would make them herself with the old-fashioned bean pot.
At some point prior to our move, I asked Mom if I could have her bean pot so I could make “real” Boston baked beans. It made the move with us down to Alabama and I’ve used it several times, with varying degrees of success. The first batch was a bit too salty; the second batch was a bit too sweet. I think, however, that I finally have the winning recipe. Since the beans were made on Saturday and had disappeared by Monday, I consider that a winner!
So, here’s the recipe I used. If you don’t have a bean pot, no worries. You can cook it on the stove or in a crock pot. I haven’t tried these methods for nostalgic reasons, but once the weather hits the 90’s+, I may try the crock pot method for the sake of not heating up the house.
Regardless of the method used, here are the ingredients:
- 1 lb navy beans (if you’re adventurous, try other types of beans)
- 1 onion, chopped
- about 1/8 lb of salt pork (or bacon, if you don’t have salt pork)
- 1Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup molasses
I forgot to soak the beans overnight, so I resorted to my usual “quick soak” method. Rinse and pick through the beans (there really are little pebbles in there, sometimes!), put them in a pot, put in enough water to have ~2 inches of water above the beans, and bring to a boil. Take it off the heat and let it sit for an hour or so. I then drained the water, added more water and brought them to a boil and continued to boil until the skins started to split. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
Put half of the salt pork on the bottom of your pot, add the chopped onion and the beans. Mix the molasses, salt, brown sugar and mustard powder together and pour over the beans.
Put the rest of the salt pork on top,
then cover with the reserved liquid, cover the pot and place in a 300° oven for about 5 hours. Be sure to check them occasionally and add more of the reserved liquid, as needed, to cover the beans.
When they are done, they will look like this:
As I said, there are variations: you can cook them longer at 250°, use different types of beans, add maple syrup, do an overnight soak, use a crock pot, and so on. However, my Southern Man, who grew up eating tomato-based baked beans or barbecue baked beans (blasphemy to a New Englander..at least to me), absolutely loved this batch, so this recipe is a keeper for us and I hope you enjoy it, too!