Submitted by: Treva from Dousman, WI, USA
Yield: Makes 8 Servings
Place beans and bay leaf in a 4 quart saucepan. Add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 mintues. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
If necessary add more water to cover beans. Heat to boiling and reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour. If beans are boiled they will burst. Drain beans, reserve liquid and discard bay leaf.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Spray a medium saute pan with nonstick pan spray and saute onion and garlic until tender. Combine onion, garlic and all other ingredients, except beans, in a small bowl and stir to blend.
Add mixture to beans and mix thoroughly. Pour beans into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover and bake 2-3 hours or until beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add more bean liquid if beans become dry.
If you have hard water, use distilled water since hard water lengthens cooking time. Sugar and acidic foods such as tomatoes and vinegar harden beans. Always add such ingredients after the beans are softened. Hickory Chardex (Hickory Smoke Powder) is available from The Spice House. It gives the beans a nice smokey aroma and flavor without adding chemicals and sodium.