Real baked beans from the original Northeastern Native American cooking traditions were sometimes made with wild honey, and when Molasses was brought over by Europeans with African Slaves, that became a popular sweetener for beans even in the surviving native communities in the east. But far more often than not, real bean hole beans were made with delicious maple
This is Dale Carson's oven baked recipe from her wonderful New Native American Cooking, which, unfortunately now out of print. Ms Carson is a member of the Abenaki Nation, Republic of Missisquoi in Vermont and is the food editor for Indian Country. Here is her latest article on delicious Pinenut Sweet Bread. I've switched the instructions a bit.
MAPLE BAKED BEANS
1 lb. dried navy beans
4 cups water
1 tbsp. oil or butter (my note: nut oil is great with this!)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup Real maple syrup
1 tsp. dry mustard powder (my note: I like the mild type in this)
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1. Add the beans to the water and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Drain the beans, SAVING the bean liquid, you will need two cups (if you don't have two cups, add water to the liquid to get the 2 cups).
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, heat the oil or butter in a skillet and saute the onions until golden. Add these to the beans, pour in bean liquid, and add all of the rest of the ingredients a mix well.
3. Transfer this mixture to a baking pot (one that has a top is best for this, if you don't have cover, seal with aluminum foil). Bake this for 2 hours, adding more bean liquid or water to keep moist. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 to 45 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Let stand around 10 minutes. Serve hot. She suggests that it be served with Pumpkin Bread Baked with Wild Grape Raisins (Brown Bread, especially the type made with cornmeal is good too.)
Variation: Use Dried baby butter beans