Maple syrup season in Ontario is almost upon us, so I thought I’d put out this tried and true “best baked beans ever” recipe. I’ve made this recipe so many times and I’m always amazed at how darn good these beans taste. I used this recipe when we owned Sunsets Restaurant and it was a huge seller– we couldn’t make beans fast enough. I found the most logical way to make them is in a large slow cooker (5L). They do take about 5 hours – so there’s no use tying your oven up for that long, but you can make them in a casserole dish in your oven as well. These freeze perfectly so you might as well make a huge batch, although this recipe can be halved (and cooked in a regular size slow cooker).
Maple Baked Beans with Apples
adapted from The Canadian Living Cookbook
Ingredients (first stage):
1 kg navy beans
12 cups water
3 cups chopped onions
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 cup real maple syrup
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp molasses
1.5 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tsp salt
Last stage ingredients:
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup amber rum, optional
Wash beans, discarding any shriveled or discoloured ones. Place beans in a big pot, pour over water and let stand overnight.
Bring beans to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until tender (but not falling apart) – about 1 hour. Drain.
While beans are cooking, prepare your other ingredients. Turn slow cooker to ‘high’.
Place all ‘first stage’ ingredients into slow cooker as well as beans. Stir. Add enough fresh water to just barely cover. (see picture)
When beans start to bubble around the edges (about an hour), reduce slow cooker heat to ‘low’. Let cook, checking to make sure they don’t dry out (and adding more water to just cover if they do) for another 3 hours — until brown and very tender. Add ‘last stage’ ingredients (apples, butter and brown sugar and rum, if using) and continue to let cook for 1 more hour. Stir. Taste to adjust for salt. Enjoy.
*oven instructions – same as above – using 300F oven and bake for 3 hours, then add apples and cook another hour. Use a dutch oven, or le creuset style pan – or a clay bean pot if you are lucky enough to have one.