How to use your dry beans: Maple-baked northern beans

March 25, 2020

Looking for something new to try with your dry beans? We’ve got you covered!

We’re all doing what we can to slow the spread of the coronavirus. For you, practising physical distancing or self-isolation may mean a little more time to try something new in the kitchen. It could also mean you’re looking for new ways to use those long-lived pantry items you have.

Here’s a comforting and delicious recipe from our friend Dan Jason, farmer at Salt Spring Seeds and author of the cookbook The Power of pulses. His recipe starts with dry navy beans — and it’s vegetarian!

Since you’re doing your best to stay home right now, we’ve added our own substitutions for some ingredients so you can try to use what you have on hand. The substitutions are in brackets next to the original ingredients below. There are also services across the country for folks looking to get groceries delivered to your home.

Let us know how it goes!

Maple-baked northern beans (serves six)

Whether you enjoy them on their own, with creamy polenta or piled on toast beneath a runny egg, baked beans are nourishing and comforting. For a quick and hearty breakfast, prepare a day ahead and reheat in the oven.

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 whole cloves (OR ⅛ tsp ground cloves OR ⅛ tsp allspice)
  • 2 ½ cups (600 mL) dry navy beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) unsulphured molasses (OR ¼ cup dark corn syrup, honey or maple syrup OR 3 tbsp of packed brown sugar OR 3 tbsp of granulated sugar with 1 tbsp of water)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) dry mustard powder (OR 2 tbsp Dijon mustard OR 2 tbsp of yellow mustard)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (OR ½ tsp garlic powder)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce (OR 2 tsp of soy sauce and a dash of ketchup)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups (1L) boiling water
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar (OR 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice OR 2 tbsp white wine)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 250F (121C).

Peel the onion, trim its ends and stud it with the cloves (if you don’t have whole cloves, simply omit this ingredient or use your chosen substitute during the next step).

To cook in the oven, place onion in a four-quart (16 cup/3.8 L) Dutch oven along with all other ingredients except for vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover pot and place in the oven. Lifting the lid and stirring occasionally, cook the beans for six to seven hours, until they are tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick glaze.

To cook in a slow cooker, boil beans in a medium pot for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and add to slow cooker along with all other ingredients except for vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook on low for six hours, or until they are tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick glaze.

Add vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove onion and serve.

Enjoy and remember, we’re all in this together!