Nothing screams 'Saturday Night!' in Nova Scotia more than Baked Beans & Brown Bread (well other than a box of Keiths & Donairs perhaps). Dark, sweet and just a wee bit smokey, these beans are good alone or with so many other comfort foods; potato salad, scalloped potatoes, fish cakes, fried eggs, corned beef hash... I could go on and on and on.
When I was growing up I loved going to visit my Nanny on the weekend because I was pretty sure that there would be beans (yup, I liked them as a kid too). She could whip up a never-ending delicious country supper out of anything and everything it seems, but there were always pickles, fresh bread and usually pie... Man, those were the days :)
So suck it up, take your Beano if you must and get your bean on this weekend... they go great with BBQ too!
My Nova Scotian Baked Beans
Adapted from Webster Farms
2 lbs Jacob's Cattle Beans (or Yellow Eyed if you can't get Jacob's Cattle)
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup molasses
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 lb (about 6 slices) bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (can leave out, I did when I was vegetarian, but I would add a couple drops of liquid smoke).
2 tsp vinegar
1 large onion, chopped small
2 tsp dijon mustard
Soak beans overnight in a large pot or dutch oven filled with water. In the morning, drain beans and refill pot with fresh water to cover beans. Bring to boil and the reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender (30-40 minutes). They will not soften a bit once you add the sugar, (trust me) so make sure they are tender enough, but not mushy. Strain the beans reserving (at least some of ) the cooking water and transfer beans to large (4 qt or larger) slow cooker.
Combine remaining ingredients with 2 cups of warm water and pour over beans. Add enough of the reserved bean water to just come to the top of the beans. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high and at least another 4 on low.