New England baked beans and hot dogs
We had a week of cold weather a few weeks ago, and it got me in the mood to bake a pot of beans. It’s a project, because you have to soak the beans overnight, then cook the beans, then assemble the baked bean ingredients and bake the pot for four hours. Nevertheless, they are very, very good, satisfying, and worth the effort at least once a year in the colder weather.
The recipe I used did not produce a final product that was very sweet. A lot of New England baked bean recipes load up on stuff like brown sugar or maple syrup to make them sweet. The beans themselves are cooked with aromatics (onion, carrot, celery, garlic, some fresh thyme and a bay leaf) so that they are quite flavorful on their own. Once the beans are cooked, you render a few slices of bacon (chopped) in your pot, put the beans into the pot, then you add 2/3 cup of molasses, some of the cooking water from the beans, and a little brown mustard (plus salt and pepper, obvs.).
I steamed a couple of hot dogs to go with the beans. For many years, my father always had beans and hot dogs for his Saturday night dinner, but my mother would just open a can of B&M Baked Beans, and she would get him a couple of natural-casing hotdogs from the supermarket. We lived in Maine, so sometimes she would buy the red-colored hot dogs that are popular there. I just had ordinary skinless hot dogs, but they were fine, and the beans were outstanding. They were even better about a week later when we had them again as a leftover.