Maple & Bacon Baked Beans
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
A sweet and savoury Québec-style baked beans recipe, re-adapted in Australia.
We all know this iconic convenient dish but in Québec, you’ll find old-fashion maple baked beans served in restaurants with a classic breakfast or at any Sugar Shack-style brunch. The Québec-style baked beans dish is properly called “fèves au lard” but as our slang French is deformed from the English, we simply say “bines” (sounding more like “bin”). This ancestral slow-cooked stew is made with lard sale (fatty salted pork), white (navy) beans and maple syrup. The dish originates from the Native Americans, who used native ingredients like beans, maple syrup and wild meat fat. The recipe was introduced to the first colonist who adapted it in many variations around the New World, substituting maple syrup with molasses or brown sugar, changing the meat cut, and sometimes adding tomato sauce. In the early 20th century, the popular dish was commercially canned for worldwide large-scale production, without maple syrup and pork. I’ve replaced a few ingredients in this slow cooker adaptation, combining simple products that are easy to find in Australia. After discovering that Vegemite is not too bad after all if used as an ingredient, I find it marries beautifully with the sweetness of maple syrup, adding a malty, bitter taste contrast. So, forget about canned baked beans, there is enough for a little army in this recipe. Leftovers can be saved in the fridge or freezer for later and enjoyed with toast and eggs any time of the year!
Baked beans homemade in Australia • Photos © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020-22
375g dried white beans (preferably) or borlotti beans* soaked overnight in cold water
125g of bacon, cut into pieces (to substitute the fatty salty pork)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tbsp Vegemite (Australian spread made from yeast extract, optional)
Salt and pepper
* I tried the borlotti many times as the white beans can be a little harder to find in regional shops in Australia, and they are also delicious. Those need to be cooked with a little more water as they are larger beans.
PREPARATION: Rinse the soaked beans and simmer in 6 cups of water for about 30 minutes.
Drain the water, transfer the softened beans to a slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well and cover with water (about 4 cups for white beans and 5 for the borlottis).
Simmer for 6 to 7 hours on high or 8 to 9 on low mode (depending on preference or slow cooker).
Have a look from time to time to stir and ensure the beans don’t stick in the bottom; add water if needed.
Serve with toast and eggs or a sugar shack-style brunch.
Note: I prefer starting the preparation in the morning after the beans were soaked all night. That means they are only ready at dinner time. If you are planning to use the beans for brunch the next day, add a little bit of water when reheating after being refrigerated.
Same if the bean mixture has been frozen.
A new and improved version is currently in development for my book! Keep following @bottleandbrushstudio for new recipe releases and for updates.