If you had asked me for a good Baked Beans recipe a couple of years ago, I’d’ve told you right off the bat that, in order to make GOOD baked beans, one must absolutely use the following 3 ingredients:
- A nice, big chunk of pork fatback
- Brown sugar, and lots of it
fairgenerous amount of molasses
You see, here in Québec, we refer to pork fatback as Lard, and Baked Beans are called Fèves au Lard. Surely, one cannot make Fèves au Lard without using Lard, right?
Baked beans taste just as good without the lard, and probably even better, because they are not as “greasy”.
As for brown sugar and molasses, well, I now realize that using both adds way too much sweetness. The recipe I just came up with now only calls for ½ cup of blackstrap molasses and it’s plenty sweet if you ask me (and, well, I’ve always like my baked beans to be on the sweet side!) To think that I used to use at least a cup of each, and probably add a little bit more for good luck!! Sheesh, my baked beans must’ve tasted like dessert, back then.
Now some people will probably argue that, even without the added fat and sugar, baked beans can’t be that good for you because they have to cook for so long that it probably destroys all the good nutrients that are in the beans and veggies… There might be some thruth to that, but I think that if you use all good, healthy ingredients to start with, then they can’t be bad for you.
And you see, baked beans are NOT something that I am ready to void off my diet. I might not eat them all that often, but I’m still quite fond of them and they will always have that special place in my heart.
My love for baked beans comes to me from my dad. He didn’t cook all that much, but this is something that he’d like to whip up once in a while and when he did, the whole house smelled soooo deliciously good. It almost felt like Christmas to me. And I can’t tell you the number of times that I saw him grab a container of leftover baked beans straight from the fridge and dig right in, then exclaim with such a passion in his voice: “Is there anything better than baked beans, I ask you?”
Funny, he would say the exact same thing every time he’d have mashed potatoes.
He was a great fan of fatback though, so I’m not sure that he would’ve approved of this “lardless” batch of Fèves au lard. You should’ve seen how absolutely thrilled he was whenever he’d find a big, fat, juicy and jiggly morsel in his plate! Yewww, he might’ve liked it, but it always totally grossed me out. Sorry dad!
Anyway, I guess I’ll never find out whether or not he would’ve liked this batch, but my guess is he would’ve. Hey, they are baked beans, after all. And there is nothing better than baked beans, you know…
Say Dad, if you’re in the area… there’s still a little bit left in the fridge. Come grab a bite if you will, and let me know how you liked ‘em!
- 600g white beans, soaked overnight
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 apples, peeled and diced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp dried savory
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 large can (798ml) whole tomatoes
- ½ cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 tbsp old style grain mustard
- 8 + 2 + 2 cups water
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Preheat the olive oil in an enamelled cast iron Dutch oven, (or other large oven safe cooking pot) over medium heat. Add the onion, apple, salt, pepper and savory and cook until fragrant and the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add bay leaves, tomatoes, molasses and mustard. Mix well with a large spoon and break the tomatoes into smaller pieces.
- Add 8 cups of water and beans. Place in the oven and cook for a total of about 9-10 hours.
- Check back every couple of hours and add water as necessary, 2 cups at a time. You should need to add water after 4-5 hours and again after 6-7 hours. Feel free to add more or less, as necessary.
- Serve with toasted whole grain bread, if desired.