Nova Scotia Baked Beans
One of my favorite childhood memories are the many Saturday nights at the family table with a big plate of sweet baked beans, fresh brown bread and hot dogs. Baked beans are one of my favorite foods and, since moving to Ontario, I haven’t made them as frequently as I would like.
Why not? Apparently the beans we always used for baking beans just aren’t available here in Ottawa — I can find obscure beans from far-flung parts of the world, but I just can’t get ahold of the Jacob’s Cattle, Soldier, Yellow Eye or French Horticultural beans that my mother used for her Saturday night feasts.
Every year during my annual trip back to the coast, I stock up on my beans and horde them like gold — doling out each batch and making them stretch for as long as I can, knowing I won’t be able to replenish my stockpile until the next summer. Our unexpected and unfortunate trip back in January was a boon in one very pleasant respect: I now have beans — lots and lots of beans!
4 cups Jacob’s Cattle beans
2 cups onion, finely chopped
2.5 cups honey
1.5 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup fancy molasses
Soak beans overnight. Drain, add fresh water and parboil until beans are soft to the bite. Drain again and transfer beans to slow cooker or covered casserole dish. Add just enough eater to cover the beans. Preheat oven to 350F.
Add chopped onion, honey, ginger, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. Bake for 1 hour and then add molasses. If thicker beans are preferred, mash beans slightly with potato masher. Stir well and bake for 1 hour longer.
NOTE: Do not add molasses until beans have reached desired softness. Adding the molasses too soon will prevent them from cooking properly!
These beans are fabulous with Maritime-style molasses brown bread or fresh Johnny Cake (cornbread), and they’re especially good as leftovers. :)