Long before John Adams was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, American Indians in the region were eating all kinds of beans. During severe New England winters, food stuffs were usually hard to locate, but beans were relatively easy to find, dry, store, and prepare.
Food historians say that New England Indians mixed beans with maple syrup and bear fat. They then placed the mixture in an earthenware pot, buried it in a pit, and covered it with hot rocks.
After the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts, they may have learned how to make baked beans from Indians in the region but probably prepared them with molasses and pork fat instead of maple syrup and bear fat.
This quick and easy recipe provides plenty of the flavorful baked bean goodness you expect and are great on long summer days with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.
3 15-ounce cans of white beans
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 slice raw thick-cut bacon
5 slices cooked thick-cut bacon, chopped
Pour beans into a large saucepan. In a separate bowl, mix together the ketchup, onions, molasses, vinegar, garlic, salt, onion, mustard powder, Tabasco sauce, and pepper. Add the mixture to the beans and stir to combine. Add one slice of raw bacon to the mix.
Bring the bean mixture to a simmer. Simmer over low heat until thick, about 20 minutes. Remove bacon slice, if desired. Add more salt to taste. Sprinkle chopped bacon over the top and serve hot.