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Playing Big Bacon and Blue Burgers

"These beans are a riff on a James Beard (not Bostonian) recipe, but it is amazing and holds a week or 10 days in fridge. And it It makes a great soup base -- just add extra veg and stock, and give it a quick purée."


  • 2 cups dried white beans
  • Salt
  • 4 spare ribs or 1 small rack baby back ribs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 1 rounded teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup each brown sugar and molasses
  • 2 large bay leaves


Serves: 6 to 8 servings


Soak beans in a large bowl covered with 2 to 3 inches of water overnight OR soak them in boiling water for 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse.

Heat oven to 250°F or a slow cooker to medium-high/high.

Bring a medium pot or full teakettle to a boil.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with oil, 2 turns of the pan. Season ribs with salt and pepper, and brown them evenly all over; remove. Add onions and stir 3-4 minutes to soften. Season with salt and add garlic, dried mustard, pepper, sugar and molasses, and bay leaves. Stir to coat and combine. Nest browned ribs in the pot under the onions then add beans and distribute them evenly over the ribs. Pour boiling water into the pot to come just up to the top, barely covering the beans. Cover the Dutch oven or transfer to the slow cooker and cook 4 hours.

Remove ribs and bay leaves, and scrape meat from ribs. Add the meat back to the beans and serve.