Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Baked Beans with Home cured Bacon and Maple Syrup

Spring has been tossing us red herrings for the last few weeks, teasing us with promises of warmth followed by days of cold and wet. On one such rainy cold day I needed to stave off the chill with something. Although baked beans are known the world over there is something quintessentially Canadian about baked beans with bacon, and maple syrup. In Ontario maple syrup season has just wrapped up, and I am lucky enough to have Jakeman's Maple Syrup  just down the road from me (meaning quality maple syrup is always to be had!) I also cured and smoked some bacon this week, meaning this match was just meant to happen.


1 lb – Navy, or Great Northern Beans
1 lb – Slab Bacon (sorry didn't document bacon making, perhaps another time.)
1/2-3/4 cup – Maple Syrup
1 can – Whole Tomatoes
1 can - Beer
3 – Medium Onions (chopped)
10 cloves – Garlic (sliced)
1 tbsp – Ginger (grated)
1 bunch – Sage (chopped)

In a spice bag put:

1/2 – Cinnamon Stick
3 – Cloves
1 – Star Anise
2 – Bay leaves

Begin by soaking your beans over night, or use the quick soak method by bringing them to a boil for ten minutes, and then leave in the water for an hour or two (until grow in size). Cut your bacon into 1/4 size pieces, and add to your cooking vessel. Render out the majority of the fat, and drain leaving 2 or more spoonfuls. Add your onions and garlic, and under medium to medium low heat sweat them until just turning translucent. Add ginger. When those are cooked add beer, and increase heat to high. Reduce by half. Add in tomatoes, beans, spice bag, sage, and maple syrup. Season with pepper, but no salt (see note). Add water and/or stock until beans are covered by an inch or so. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and let simmer slowly for 6-8 hours, or until beans are soft.

This recipe works great with any cured pork product. It is great for leftover ham, picnic shoulder, or smoked ham hock. If you use a ham or picnic shoulder it is always great to add the bone in to the beans and any ham “jelly” leftover. It really is a versatile recipe. You could also use a slow cooker, or bake in the oven.

One reason I use whole canned tomatoes, is because more often then not your beans will be close to done once the tomato has pretty much disintegrated into the mixture. If you don’t have maple syrup, you could add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Hope everyone enjoys this as much as I do.

*Note: When cooking beans do not add salt until the end of the cooking process. The salinity blocks the pores of the beans and they will not be able to absorb moisture and get soft.


Anonymous said...

It loooks delicious...
vermont maple syrup

commiskaze said...

Hey thanks!