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Baked Beans

1 pound dried navy beans -- picked over and soaked overnight in water to cover
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound salt pork -- trimmed and cubed
4 ounces chopped bacon
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups reserved bean liquid
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup dark brown sugar - (firmly packed)
1 tablespoon dry (powdered) mustard
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.


Drain the beans and put them in a pot with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, salt, and the bay leaves. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquid.


Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the salt pork and bacon and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the ketchup, 1 1/2 cups of the reserved bean liquid, onions, celery, sugar, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon cayenne. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the beans and stir gently to mix. Simmer for 5 minutes.


Transfer the beans to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve hot.


This recipe yields 6 to 8 servings.


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