On the first Sunday of every month, right after our church’s second service, the men storm upstairs and spring into action. While the women chat and laugh and make a leisurely climb up from the sanctuary, those men start tossing chairs and tables all around the room, and right before your eyes, they transform the overflow area into a fellowship spot — just in time for our monthly, first-Sunday potluck. It’s really a sight to see. If instead of men they were, say, mice, you’d think you were watching Cinderella’s little friends — the ones who did all her chores and had time left over to sew her a dress. But of course, they’re men. Let’s not tell them I compared them to singing, sweeping, sewing rodents.
Over the years, I’ve made dozens and dozens of different things for our monthly potluck. But lately, I’ve kind of settled into a Boston Baked Bean routine. (Say that with me: BostonBakedBeanRoutine … nice, huh?) I’m sure I’ll move on eventually. But for now, here’s my standby:
Boston Baked Beans
- 3 cups of small navy beans
- your choice of meat: hamhocks, bacon, or salt pork
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 TBSP molasses
- 1 TBSP dry mustard
- one whole, peeled onion
- salt and pepper
- about 12 cups of water
First, get your navy beans (like my free storage?) and pick out anything you don’t want to eat.
See this little brown dirt ball? That’s what we’re after.
It never fails. I always find at least one of these wily clods. When you’re sure you’re down to just beans, rinse them and put them in your crock pot.
Add your spices …
… and your molasses …
And while you’re pouring those 2 TBSP into your pot, take 5 or 6 minutes to ponder the phrase “slow as molasses.”
Nestle the onion down into those beans, sprinkle with the bacon (if you’re using that) or plop in the salt pork or ham hock, and cover with the water. A lot of people soak their beans first. I’m not one of them. I come from a long line of non-bean-soakers.
Cook on low for a good 12-16 hours. I usually start this around 8:00 pm on Saturday night, and by 1:00 Sunday afternoon, they’re just right. Toward the end of that time, watch the water level to make sure you have enough to keep cooking the beans, but not so much that they’re soupy. If the beans aren’t tender enough, turn on high for the last few hours.
When they’re ready, they should look like this:
To be honest, I pulled this container out of the fridge the Monday after our potluck and took a picture of these cold beans. They’re even more photogenic when they’re piping hot … I was just too lazy to heat them for you.
Want a taste? Sunday … 12:30. Or come earlier for church and stay to watch the show and share lunch with us. We’d love to have you! 🙂