I am torn about the 4th of July. I love holidays, I love independence, I love any reason to eat and cook. But I hate crowds. I headed back to Michigan this year for the 4th, to celebrate with friends and family in one of my favorite places on earth, the Leelanau Peninsula. My parents live in Cedar which is halfway between Traverse City (full of tourists) and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (a little less full of tourists, but still crowded none-the-less).
In an effort to avoid the crowds I spent the day at home slaving over a giant pot of made-from-scratch baked beans. I purchased a huge bag of Great Northern Beans last winter at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market and I could not think of a better way to use them up than a steaming pot of 4th O’ July American baked beans.
These beans are super simple, but time consuming. Perfect for any day you plan to spend laying on the porch reading a good book (or the Declaration of Independence if you really want to be festive).
*Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the effects this dish has on your posterior. …but for me the taste is worth it!
3 cups dry great northern beans (or navy beans)
2 large yellow onions
1-2 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs brown mustard
1/2 cup tomato paste
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp salt
2 cups water
Soak the beans in water in a large dutch oven for at least 10 hours, but 12-24 is better.
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Drain the beans and rinse. Put the beans back in the pot and cover with an inch or two of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and cover. Cook about 2 hours until the bean are soft but still a bit firm. Drain the beans and set them aside.
Finely chop the onions. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook until translucent. Add to the bean pot.
In a mixing bowl combine all the remaining ingredients except the water. Add to the beans and stir. Add in the water and stir. Cover (with a lid or foil) and cook in the oven for 1-2 hours until most of the liquid is gone and the beans are tender.