It's finally starting to cool off here in Texas, and that gets me excited for warm and filling meals. Inspired by Gooseberry Patch's latest, Hometown Harvest (see here for chance to win a copy!), I transformed their recipe for molasses baked beans from a side dish into a main entree.
It. Was. Fabulous.
There are a few secrets to these baked beans that make them unlike any other I've ever tried. First...the molasses. Rich, creamy and dark, these molasses pack the perfect amount of spicy sweetness into these beans.
Second, this recipe calls for a clove-studded onion. I had never heard of such a thing! I have stuck cloves in ham...in oranges...but in an onion? Never!
Yet, it was amazing. The clove added the perfect flavoring, and sticking the whole cloves into an onion allowed for an even more complex taste with easy removal after everything was done cooking. What a showstopper of a technique!
So what made my beans different from those in Hometown Harvest? I simply added some smoked sausage. We are a "meat and potatoes" family, so I wanted to add a bit of something extra to turn these delightful beans into a main dish. It worked!
You should give these a try today. And while you're at it, make some cornbread to go with them!
Molasses Baked Beans
adapted from Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest
- 2 16oz. packages dried navy beans
- 1/2 lb. salt pork, cut into strips
- 1 cup molasses, divided
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 T. dry mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 whole onion
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 lb. kielbasa or smoked sausage, sliced
Cover beans with water in a large pot; soak for 2 to 3 hours. Drain beans, reserving liquid; place beans in a slow cooker. Add salt pork, 3/4 cup molasses, brown sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and chopped onions. Stud whole onion with cloves; add to slow cooker. Add sausage. Pour in enough of reserved liquid to fill half full; stir. Cover and cook on high setting for 4 to 5 hours, or on low setting for 8 to 9 hours, until beans are tender. After several hours, if a darker color is desired, stir in remaining molasses; continue cooking as directed. Remove clove-studded onion and salt pork before serving. Serves 8.