Don't Sleep on Boston Baked Beans

When was the last time you made Boston baked beans? It's so easy to forget about the classics when brainstorming side dish options for regular weekday fare. You happily make these luscious legumes for those mid-summer picnics and potlucks, but why are they so seldom on the regular menu?

The beauty of serving a side dish of such renown is you can toss it next to some nondescript sausages, or slice of ham and still have what feels like a special meal. I'm sure most of us associate baked beans with pleasurable experiences, thus it passes the only real "comfort food" test of authenticity.

While some of you more cynical readers may think this post was just an easy way to test one of the classic American recipes going in the cookbook, and at the same time, a way to solicit some witty comments from Scott from Boston, well, okay…that's just about right. Enjoy!

1 pound dry navy beans
6 cups water
pinch of baking soda
1 bay leaf
6 strips bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (traditionally salt pork is used, and if desired 4 ounces can be substituted for the bacon)
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste