Southern Baked Beans

2 cups white navy beans, covered in water and soaked for 24 hours
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup or sorghum
2 cups chicken stock
6 slices bacon, cut into 3 inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon salt, kosher preferred


Preheat oven to 300?F.
Strain the soaked beans and place them in a large heavy pot. Cover by 2 inches of cold water and bring to a boil, then simmer beans until they are tender. Skim any foam that rises to the top and discard. Drain the tender, cooked beans and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Place the cooked beans and the 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid in a heavy 3 quart baking dish or pot, with a lid. I use a really heavy enameled cast-iron pan.
Add the thyme, orange zest, garlic, dry mustard, maple syrup and chicken stock to the beans. Arrange bacon over the beans; cover with lid and place in oven, bake for 1 hour. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
Season with salt and serve from the baking dish (careful it’s hot).

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