HONEY BAKED BEANS
makes about 1 1/2 quarts
2 cups dried heirloom beans, soaked overnight in water
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard optional
1/2 pound bacon or pancetta
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
Drain the soaking beans and rinse well in cold water. Cover beans in a large saucepan with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes until the beans' thin skins begin to come away from the beans.
Preheat oven to 275o. Drain the beans and dump them into a baking dish with a lid. (A heavy braising dish works well. Classic bean pots are better because they have smaller tops which means slower evaporation as the beans bake.) Cook the onions in a saucepan over medium heat in a little olive oil or butter for a few minutes just to begin softening them. Then add the honey, mustard, bacon or pancetta, salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Once this heats up and the molasses and sugar are well combined with everything pour it all over the beans, cover, and bake for about 3 hours. Give them a little stir once in a while making sure that they are not getting too dried out. Add a little water if they are, but not too much. Most of the water should evaporate in the long cooking making a nice thick sauce for the finished beans. If the beans are fully cooked after 3 hours, but they are still too wet continue baking with the lid off until the sauce reaches a nice thickness.