Thursday, January 6, 2011

Recipe : Basic Baked Beans

A good old-fashioned dish, traditionally served on Saturday nights in the Maritimes, but good any time.  One definite advantage to beans is, you get a lot of food for a little money.  This recipe fairly closely mimics the flavor and style of canned beans with pork and molasses.

This recipe comes from the More-with-Less Cookbook available from, with a few modifications of my own.  (ie, Where I have indicated to discard water, the original recipe uses the same water throughout.)  Another ingredient I have seen suggested is a bit of maple syrup, which I think could be quite nice but I don't have any in the house right now.

FYI, here are a handful of interesting tips for reducing the gas in your beans.  For obvious reasons, the first two should not be used simultaneously.  LOL

  • add 2 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar to the soaking water
  • add a bit of baking soda to the soaking water, or no more than 1/8 tsp to the baking dish
  • dump out the soaking water, use fresh water for boiling, dump THAT water and use fresh for baking
  • add a generous amount of ginger to the baking pan, or a piece of ginger root
  • add a whole peeled potato to the baking dish

Basic Baked Beans

Soak one pound of navy beans in water overnight.  (3 parts water to 1 part beans).  Add 2 tbsp vinegar to the soaking water.   In the morning, discard soaking water.   Pour the same amount of fresh water into a large pot with the beans.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1.5 hours until beans are tender.   (Skim off foam as it rises.)   Drain, measuring the liquid before discarding.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
generous sprinkle of ginger
(optional) 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
(optional) 2-3 tsp chili flakes or powder
about eight cups of water

Mix well.  Add beans to a 2-qt casserole.  Add 1 onion, chopped, and (optional) 2 slices bacon, chopped, or 1/4 lb salt pork, cut in small pieces.  Pour liquid mixture into casserole, stirring together, until beans are covered.  Reserve any leftover liquid.  

Bake for approximately six hours until done, adding liquid occasionally if necessary.  Cover during the first three hours of baking, then uncover for the remainder.

Serve hot with a side of brown bread, or spooned over slices of soft white bread for a different dish. 

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