I have to admit I never grew up eating baked beans and the thought of eating any from a can just sounds truly unappealing. I just do not understand the attraction of eating baked beans at all. Big Pete asked me to make some bourbon baked beans the other day because he used to eat them as a kid on little pieces of toast and he just had a hankering for some. I said sure since this is only the second time in 25 years he has ever asked for them. I made them from scratch (cause there was no chance we eating the ones from a can) and if you give them the time and love they need they can be quite tasty, with the salty bacon or ham and the sweet sticky gravy although they are still not something I would have to eat anytime soon. If you love them you might just really like these.
You will need:
- 2 cups dried navy beans
- 1 onion – diced
- 3 tbsp good olive oil
- 3 slices great quality Maple Ham – mine is from The Old Country Sausage Shop-Raymond. AB
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- (more water as it cooks)
- salt and pepper at the end if necessary.
Step 1: cover your dried beans by a few inches with cool water and let soak overnight until plumped and re-hydrated. Add more water if necessary. Drain and rinse beans.
Step 2: cover beans by an inch with cool water and bring to a boil and then gently simmer for 1 1/2 hours. You may need to add more water. Slowly gently cook them and do not add any salt at this stage. Drain beans and set aside.
Step 3: in the same pot add the onions and olive oil and cook 10 minutes until some of the water has cooked out and just starting to brown.
Step 4: chop a few slices of bacon or salty ham. I used a smoked, maple ham. Chop and add to onions.
Step 5: add all remaining ingredients to the pot, including the beans. Stir to combine and set on medium low to cook slowly. This can be done in a slow cooker or in the oven as well.
Cook slowly for another 3-4 hours adding more water if they get too thick. In the end they will be thick and sticky. Serve on toast for the old-fashioned Canadian/American experience.