Barbecued Boston Baked Beans
Hoppin’ John, the last recipe in the Bean Theme was from the American South, so now it’s time for the North. Unless, of course, it’s South Boston … Alabama, as Charlie Dog said to Colonel Shuffle. Damn Yankees.
I found this recipe on the excellent Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide blog. It is an odd taste at first, for Australian palates, with its mixture of smokey and sweet flavours, but it got the thumbs-up from the missus, who voted it better than my regular bean stew. Harrumph.
There are, therefore, a couple of minor adjustments to be made for Australian conventions. I’d never heard of Great Northern beans before, but Cannellini or Navy beans substitute well. Borlotti beans wouldn’t go amiss either.
With regard to the barbecue sauce, Rufus kindly supplies a link to his own recipe, or you can cheat and buy a bottle of barbecue sauce. Personally, I used a bottle of Fountain BBQ Sauce, which was just the right amount for this recipe.
Finally, molasses (a.k.a. treacle) doesn’t tend to be a common item in Australian pantries, so if you don’t want to buy some especially, golden syrup (cane syrup to Americans) seemed to make an acceptable substitute.
What do I need?
- 500g of dried white beans (cannellini, navy, etc.)
- 8 rashers of bacon cut into large pieces
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of barbecue sauce
- 1/3 cup of maple syrup
- 1/4 cup of cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp of honey
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
What do I do?
Soak the beans overnight. I know it’s a drag to have to try and plan your cooking a day ahead – I can almost never plan that far ahead – but I really advise it with this recipe, so the beans come really nice and soft.
After you’ve soaked them, drain the beans, rinse them and put them aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Fry the bacon until it’s crisp, then put it into a big casserole dish.
Keep some of the bacon fat in the pan and use it to fry the onions until they’re soft.
Add the onion to the casserole dish with the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together and put it in the oven and cook it until the beans are good and soft – which should be about 4 hours. Make sure you wander by and stir everything up everything now and then, being especially careful to scoop up the beans and sauce at the bottom of the pot, otherwise it will stick and burn.
I cooked it with the lid on the pot; if you cook it uncovered, keep an eye on the amount of liquid. If it starts to dry out, just add a little more until the sauce is a nice consistency.
You could also cook this in a slow-cooker. Probably about 4-6 hours on low.