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Bacon Flavored Boston Baked Beans
This Colonial American favorite was made popular in Boston at a time when there was a heavy trade in molasses. While there are no longer any Baked Beans being canned in Boston, you can make this tangy dish at home. Makes 10 to 12 servings

1 pound dry navy beans or dry great northern beans (2-1/3 cups)
8 cups cold water
6 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon) or bacon, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple or maple-flavored syrup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cooked crisp and drained (optional)

Rinse beans. In a 4-1/2-quart Dutch oven combine beans and cold water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, skip boiling the water and soak the beans overnight in a covered pan.) Drain and rinse beans.

In the same pan combine beans and 8 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1-1/4 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans, reserving liquid. In the same pan cook the 6 ounces pancetta or bacon over medium heat until slightly crisp. Add onion to bacon and drippings; cook and stir until tender. Add brown sugar. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in molasses, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Add drained beans and 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid. If desired, transfer to a bean pot.

Cover and bake in a 300 degree F. oven for 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add additional reserved bean liquid.

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