Archive for February 9th, 2012

February 9, 2012

big bad baked brown beans

I remember LOVING baked beans as a child, and I had a very distinct flavour I was seeking to recreate when I made these earlier this week. As I have mentioned before my family has very strong British culinary roots, and I have had many a weeknight bean on toast night in my life… but tin beans have nothing on all day sweet molasses baked brown beans.

I totally nailed the flavour I was after, and I used this vintage recipe I photographed about a 7 years ago to set me down the right track.  While spending a week out in Kananaskis Country  in a standard  Canadian January trying to keep warm in the -30°c cozied in an amazing old hunter /weavers log cabin with wood heat and a wood stove (not unlike my present life funny enough) I found in the pristine 50’s kitchen a stunning pantry complete with a flour mill bursting with vintage food packaging; herbs, jello, coffee, flavourings you name it. I was in packaging heaven! I absolutely adore old food packaging, and have a collection of some really sweet bits and bobs. As an designer (who does a lot of food packaging these days) I just love seeing the way it all began.

But back to the beans; I used this recipe and tweaked it (as usual) and below is my version along with a not so appetizing image of the net result.. poor beans aren’t too photogenic even in my vintage le creuset casserole and after a few snaps I soon gave in to the enticing smell that was teasing me all day. We all oohed and awed over these brown beauties, and I think you will agree a beans on toast night with these baked beans makes up for many a tin bean debauchery.

My SOLE spin:

2 cups of dry kidney beans

1 cup dry pinto beans

soak overnight

The next day drain and rinse

Set the beans to boil in fresh water until the skins start to split. DO NOT SALT WATER.

In a large measuring cup combine:

1 yellow onion diced fine

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp mustard


pinch of chili flakes

pinch of paprika

2-4 Tbsp of homemade HP sauce

2 Tbsp bacon drippings

Once beans start to split drain (reserve water and add 1-2 cups of it to the sauce mix above)

Place beans in a nice cast iron or ceramic casserole dish and pour enough sauce to cover the beans

Add 3 whole maple pork sausages (or any other piggy product) into the casserole, after they are cooked though you can slice them into 1/4″ slices, stir them in and continue baking so they soak up the sauce.

bake at 300 for about 6 hours. Check beans at least 3 times and add more sauce and then hot water as needed.

You want a good amount of yummy thick bubbling sauce, so don’t let it bake dry… after all you need to dunk your toast in something!

Of course you can omit all things animal from this dish and have a really great meal, coconut oil would be nice in lue of bacon dripping but I wouldn’t ruin a good pot of baked beans with tofurkey sausage or anything like that!

happy dunking