baked beans. New England style. sort of.

So, I’m from Maine. We like our baked beans in Maine, and it may or may not be the same way they like them in Boston, but it most definitely is not out of a can. I made the mistake of googling “baked beans” to see if my recipe is basically the boston recipe, and came across this really horrifying version. Best beans ever?? FROM A CAN?? That lady is not my friend. (this is me seriously hoping she doesn’t post ping-backs in her comments, I will feel bad about that. I’m sure the recipe is delicious if you like that sort of thing)

I’m calling this recipe “New England style sort of” because I got this recipe from my dad, who got it from his mom. But I mayyy have forgotten to write down a few key details, so I’ve been just winging it. More often than not, they turn out ok.

Required supplies and equipment:

BEANS (duh). You can pretty much use any kind of dry bean (preferably white) you want, my latest adventure was with great northern beans and they worked really well. Having said that, it’s entirely possibly you’re supposed to use red beans, and I forgot to write that down (you’re going to notice this pattern if I continue to post recipes).

(yes that is the lid to an old sugar bowl, that's how we do in new england)

Bean pot. If you don’t have one of these I honestly don’t know if you can make my beans. haha. Just kidding, I’m sure you can use a dutch oven or something. Or you could go buy one. For some reason I have a desire to shun the Pot Shop of Boston, but not everyone can use their grandmother’s bean pot, so get one where you can.

having an adorable recipe book helps also.

REAL maple syrup. Doesn’t have to be fresh out of your grandparents syrup shack or anything, but the knock-off stuff just isn’t going to work.

Molasses. I use Grandma’s, because that’s basically the only kind out there, but I am not a big molasses snob, any kind should do. oh except probably not blackstrap. intense flayvurrrr. tread lightly with that stuff if you’re not familiar with it.

OK so. After all that, here is zeh recipe. I forgot to take pictures of the steps but it’s not rocket surgery.

  • 2 cups beans
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbls – 1/2 cup molasses (depends on how much you like molasses)
  • 1/4 c. margarine/butter (I use smart balance) or half a block of salt pork*
  • 1 tsp salt (I use a pinch or two of sea salt)
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • “Optional” (not optional) – dry mustard and ginger*

Advance prep: soak beans overnight. If you can’t or forgot to, follow “quick soak” instructions on the bag.

After soaking, add more water if needed to cover beans, and bring to a boil; simmer for about 30 mins. Drain beans but don’t throw out the water!

Layer beans in pot with onions and butter/salt pork (throw some beans in, then some onions, some chunks of salt pork or butter, then repeat).

In a saucepan, combine molasses, syrup, salt, dry mustard and ginger. Bring to a boil, then pour over beans in pot. Pour in enough reserved bean water to cover beans, plus another half inch or so (you can add plain water if you don’t have enough bean water).

Cover and bake at 325 for 3 – 4 hours, checking in every hour or so to stir and make sure there’s enough liquid. You’ll want to check the tenderness of the beans after about 3 hours, to gauge how much longer they need. They’re done when they’re nice and soft. Crunchy beans = bad.

Allow to cool a tiny bit and then serve over/beside franks. With spicy mustard, if you want. And if you like that sort of thing, brown bread (this is one thing I accept out of a can, because, that’s how it’s made. if you’re really ambitious you can try this recipe, but I never have).

And if you’re really lucky to have it on hand, homemade piccalilly (kind of like relish, but not). Someday I will attempt to make/can that myself and I will maybe share the recipe.

We changed it up a bit and put the beans on toasted sub rolls. Not bad!

This is probably the goofiest recipe ever shared because it’s an awful lot of “well I don’t know just guess.” But that’s kind of how I cook. Seriously these beans turn out different every. single. time. So umm have fun!

*This is where I forgot to write down any actual amounts or instructions. If I had to guess I’d say I used 3/4 Tbls dry mustard, 1/2 tsp ginger, in my latest bean adventure. But I just threw it in till it looked/smelled good, so you should try that too. For the salt pork, I’m really not sure if you fry it up first or just throw it in – I pretty much stick with the vegetarian version and they’re still delicious. If you want to try the salt pork, let me know what you did and how it turned out.

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7 Responses to baked beans. New England style. sort of.

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m so going to have to try this. And the bread. ::nods::

  2. Jenn says:

    Picalilly? How very British of you.

    • d-day says:

      haha! well I’m the descendant of Torys. but picalilly might be different in the UK from what it is in my family..? I don’t know, I’ve heard people talk about picalilly and it’s never the same as what I’m talking about.

      • Jenn says:

        That yellow stuff is pretty much what I think it looks like – I’m anti condiment, so I haven’t ever eaten any. My dad could tell you.

        • d-day says:

          haha the yellow stuff? you mean the mustard?? so you’re anti-condiment huh. I basically eat food just for the condiments I can add to it..

      • Jenn says:

        no no the yellow stuff in the jar! Although in england I would say it is more yellow, btu I don’t know if that is just how “store-bought” looks.

        I dont know if we can continue to be friends. My condiment phobia is legendary. Epic even.

  3. Jo says:

    I’m so excited for this! NOM.

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