Maple & Bacon Baked Beans
Updated: Feb 1
A sweet and savoury Québec-style baked beans recipe, re-adapted in Australia.
We all know this iconic convenient dish but where I come from in Québec, you’ll find in most restaurants, old-fashion baked beans are still served on the side with the classic breakfast or 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 still call them “bines” (sounding more like “bin” than “beans”). This ancestral slow-cooked stew is made with lard sale (fatty salted pork), white (navy) beans and maple syrup. But the dish’s origin is from the Native American, 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 to salty pork, sometimes adding tomato sauce. In the early 20th century, the popular dish was commercially canned for worldwide large-scale production, without the maple syrup and pork. I’ve replaced few ingredients of a common French Canadian homemade recipe to adapt it in my favourite way, combining simple products that are easy to find in Australia and putting it all in the slow cooker. 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, when making this big recipe, there is enough for a little army and left-overs can be saved in the fridge or freezer for later. We enjoy this comfort food simply with toast and scrambled eggs or omelettes as brunch occasionally on weekends - anytime of the year!
Homemade baked beans for breakfast or lunch • Photos © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020
375g dried white beans (preferably) or borlotti beans* soaked over night in cold water
125g of bacon, cut in 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 with the borlotti many times as the white beans can be a little harder to find in regional shops of Australia, and they are also delicious. Those just 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 time to time to stir and make sure 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 diner time. If you are planning to use the beans for brunch on the next day, add a little bit of water when reheating after being refrigerated. Same if the beans mixture has been frozen.