There are five secrets to taking little dried white pea (or navy, or cannellini) beans to ethereal heights of gastronomy: 1) soaking, parboiling, and cleansing (de-gassing); 2) cooking them twice; 3) cooking them slowly; 4) using a half-glazed (inside) earthenware bean pot; 5) letting them sit overnight after the second cooking and then reheating them.
Great baked beans cannot be rushed, making them a perfect, made-in-advance party food. The mystery of why earthenware does its usual magic with beans is just that, a certified mystery.
Soak the apricots in the rum for 2 hours, drain, saving the rum and chop them.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Put the beans in a big mixing bowl. Add the apricots and rum, the garlic, ginger, ancho chili powder, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, Pickapeppa sauce, and vinegar.
Mix well and put in the bean pot. Layer the bacon on top of the beans. Pour in the stout and enough bean-cooking liquid to cover the beans by
When cool enough to handle, take out the bacon and chop. Add the chopped bacon to the beans and mix. Stir salt and pepper into the beans if needed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, add
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