Loraine is not a big fan of legumes. This recipe is definitely the exception to the rule. If you are not into "sweet" then this dish is probably not for you.
The sweetness comes from pure maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses and sweet apple cider. Coupled to those ingredients is the sweetness generated by sautéed yellow onion and maple flavoured smoked bacon.
Surprising to some, tomatoes are not part of the recipe with the exception of a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste. Please purchase quality tomato paste. Tomato paste should be red not brown!
A lot of people may disagree with the cooking method, We will admit that it is a bit cumbersome. However, we have tried numerous methods, mostly shortcuts and the finished product is always lacking in one manner or another. We prefer a thick sauce and always serve it with a bread that is made for soaking up the juice. You can make the sauce thinner by not cooking it on a burner for as long or by adding some water at the end.
We pay a little more and purchase quality beans. We do not have to sort through the beans looking for pebbles or other debris.
We use the small white navy bean but you could just as easily use the Great Northern or Italian white beans. We know someone who uses red kidney beans in this recipe.
Rinse the beans. Place the beans in a bowl with water, 2" above beans. Allow to soak overnight.
- 8 oz white beans, (by weight)
- 3 rashers maple flavoured bacon, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup sweet apple cider
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (quality)
- 2 tbsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- See note above: Night Before
- In the morning rinse the beans and place them in a pot with cold water about 2" higher than the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.
- About 10 minutes before the beans are ready heat the oven to 235° F.
- Place an oven proof casserole with a lid on a burner on medium heat.
- Add the diced bacon and sauté to render out some of the fat.
- Add the diced onions and sauté for about 4 minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well.
- Rinse the cooked beans and add them to the casserole. Mix well.
- Add enough water to cover the beans by about 3/4". The amount of water will vary as it is dependent on the size of your casserole.
- Place the lid on the casserole and place in the oven. Cook for 5 hours. Check the casserole every couple of hours to ensure that the water has not evaporated. If necessary add additional water.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and place on a burner. Remove the lid, mix well and cook at a low simmer (lid removed) until the beans have the amount of moisture level that you want. We normally need to cook ours for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not leave the beans unattended when they are on the burner. The beans can and will burn on the bottom of the casserole if not stirred very often!