Sausage Baked Beans
- 1 pound dried Navy beans, rinsed and picked over to remove stones or dirt clumps
- 12 cups fresh water for soaking plus additional boiling water for cooking
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large cooking onion, peeled
- 1/4 pound spicy link sausage, cut into 1/2″ chunks
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder (or 1 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard)
- salt and pepper to taste
Place Navy beans in a dutch oven or other stove-top and oven safe deep-sided heavy pan with a tight fitting cover. Pour 12 cups of fresh water over the beans, cover, and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit at room temperature overnight, still covered.
In the morning, remove the cover, add the bay leaf, stir the beans and return to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes or until beans are just beginning to become tender, adding more boiling water if necessary. You’re not looking to get the beans totally tender, you just want them to be starting to get tender. They’ll finish cooking as they bake! Remove the beans from heat again and pour into a colander in the sink. Fish out and discard the bay leaves.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Evenly scatter the chunks of link sausage over the bottom of the pan you used to soak and cook the beans. (Rinsing the pan between steps is unnecessary!) Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the molasses, brown sugar and mustard powder and then pour the hot beans over top. Gently fold the beans and molasses mixture together and then scrape into the pan over the sausage pieces. Cut a deep ‘x’ into the bottom of your peeled onion and push the onion down into the center of the beans. Pour additional boiling water over the beans to cover them by about an inch.
Place pan, uncovered, in the oven and bake for about three hours. Check the beans periodically to make sure they’re not becoming dry. As soon as the beans are tender (This could be less than three hours or more depending on the age of the beans. Just check them every now and again!) stir them so that you’re transferring the beans that were on bottom to the top and vice versa. Raise the oven’s heat to 400°F and cook, still uncovered, until the sauce around the beans is thick and bubbly. Remove from oven, add salt and pepper to taste, cover, and allow to cool until they are a comfortable temperature to eat.
These beans are great hot, warm, room temperature or cold. In short, eat them with dinner and then sneak them from the refrigerator at midnight. I won’t tell.
Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week. They freeze and reheat well, too!