Maple Baked Beans
Are baked beans as a brunch side dish a Canadian thing? I think they might be. Not that I wouldn’t like to eat them for lunch or dinner but there’s something super satisfying about beans for breakfast. Google baked beans and you find a lot of variations that seem to depend on region but they’re almost always family recipes. You could noodle around with the ingredients – some people like molasses instead of syrup or a bit of dry ginger.
Seeing them on the menu at the Shaw Farm where we visited last weekend made me want to try to make my own. The kids both liked them a lot and kept stealing spoonfulls of Ben’s. I don’t know why I’d always thought of them as something you had to buy from a store or order in a diner. Most canned baked beans have a staggering amount of sodium, with some containing over 30% of your daily allowance from a 1 cup serving. Homemade come in more like 9%. All my Facebook food pals assured me they take forever but are otherwise dead simple to make at home. This recipe makes a whack of beans so it would be great to make if you have a crowd coming over.
Maple Baked Beans
2 cups white kidney beans
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp vinegar
Place beans in a bowl and cover them with cold water. Let them soak over night.
Rinse the beans well and place in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Drain. Put the beans in an oven-safe pot with a lid like a Dutch oven.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix syrup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, onion, bacon and mustard. I read so many recipes because I thought it seemed strange to not cook the onions and bacon before adding them to the beans but it does work, plus makes this even simpler. Stir the sauce into the beans so that they’re completely coated. Mine seemed a bit dry so I added about 1 cup of water. Luckily I’d gotten pretty far along in this recipe before Julian added a few of his thoughts.
Put the lid on the pot and put in the hot oven. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Carefully take the pot out every 45 minutes or so and give it all a stir to make sure that the beans are drinking up the sauce evenly and checking the beans for doneness. When they’re done taste to see if you’d like to add salt and pepper. And stir in that little bit of vinegar – it really does make a difference!
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