Baked Beans - the 'real McCoy'?

@owlwings (38090)
Cambridge, England
November 15, 2016 6:35am CST
I suppose everyone is familiar with Mr Heinz's Baked Beans [in Tomato Sauce]. They are so familiar that many people don't realise that beans can be - and originally were - cooked without any tomato at all. I have wanted to cook the traditional and classic Boston Baked Beans for a long time but have always been thwarted by my inability to find the small, white bean which is used in the tinned baked beans. The other day I found something which approximates to it (but is still a little longer and larger) and decided to tackle the project. The recipe I have calls for white beans (Navy Beans or Great Northern), salt pork, onion, molasses, brown sugar, ground cloves and Dijon mustard all stewed together at a very low temperature for about 8 hours. I had collected everything except the salt pork but I have used belly pork instead and added salt, pepper and bay leaf to the mix. It is now sitting there in the slow cooker and (hopefully) will be ready for supper tonight! I am looking forward to tasting the 'real McCoy'. I'm sure that it will either be delicious or horrible (in which case I shall have to try to devise a way of using it us!) but I don't know whether it will taste anything much like the Baked Beans as served in Boston (Massachusets). With so much molasses (black treacle) and sugar, it will taste quite sweet, I believe, but then it also has quite a quantity of salt to temper it. Has anyone here made or tasted Boston Baked Beans or what other, quite different, ways do you have of slow-cooking white beans?
17 people like this
14 responses
@crossbones27 (14890)
• Redlands, California
15 Nov 16
Just canned and they are so good. You know they say everyone could live to over a 100 if they ate beans and rice with a carrot or apple mixed in. The city next to me has some of the oldest people on earth living in it. Swear to know one but everyone, it is true look up Loma Linda California and what they eat. I think your endeavor will turn out great
4 people like this
@owlwings (38090)
• Cambridge, England
15 Nov 16
When you say 'canned', do you mean that you can get Boston Baked Beans in cans? I wish I could find them here! Actually, I have searched online and I can't find anyone who sells cans of the real stuff. I agree that beans, peas and lentils are all very healthy food. I love them in all the ways I've tried them (I'm especially fond of Tarka Dhal, which is made from yellow split peas and red lentils with cumin and some chili, depending on the recipe). I could only find one reference to the diet of Loma Lindans and that attributes their longevity mainly to being vegetarian (and Seventh-Day Adventists) and eating nuts and tomatoes. I'm sure that they also eat a lot of beans but the article doesn't mention that!
In one idyllic community in southern California, Adventists live 4 to 7 years longer -- and more healthily and happily -- than the rest of the country. A look at their diet, lifestyle, and philosophy
3 people like this
• Redlands, California
15 Nov 16
@owlwings Yeah because people are still on that health nut thing that became corporate, but cannot remember. Saw a blog from someone from Loma Linda and also knew a doctor, was drinking buddies for a while, he was retired and he told me what they eat and most was home grown, organic gardens and what not. That part of the community is rich. Religious or doctors there is money running through those veins. Canned tastes good but pretty sure GMOs or processed foods is not the same as coming from mother earth. At least they are using their money right. Tasty though. Look up B&M
1 person likes this
@sugartoes (33847)
• Greencastle, Indiana
15 Nov 16
@crossbones27 I use to live in that neck of the woods WAY back when I bet that place has changed so much I couldn't find my way a round my old stomping grounds. redlands, lama Linda, Onterio, fontana, realto san Bernidino those were the days back in my days what a LIFE.
2 people like this
@JolietJake (39964)
15 Nov 16
You fixed your tags before I could message you about it. I haven't had Boston Baked Beans for a very long time, but I occasionally slow cook ham and beans and make some cornbread to go with it.
3 people like this
@owlwings (38090)
• Cambridge, England
15 Nov 16
Ham and beans is something I've done, too, in the past. It is very good and filling. I shall have to learn how to make corn bread, I think. My recipe suggests that I serve it with 'Boston Brown Bread', which also contains molasses and it traditionally baked in a coffee can. I'm not sure that I can tolerate that much molasses but I gather that, in Boston, the streets once flowed with the stuff (it was actually a factory disaster and killed a number of people) and that, in certain weather, it is said that you can still smell it!
3 people like this
@sugartoes (33847)
• Greencastle, Indiana
15 Nov 16
sounds like a real good ideal but NO I haven't never tried to copy something I buy from a can like that I hope it turned out really good.
2 people like this
@owlwings (38090)
• Cambridge, England
15 Nov 16
It still has about five hours of cooking to endure! I'll no doubt be posting an update on how it turned out. While I would be quite interested to try to reproduce the Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce recipe (which I'm sure would be 100 times tastier than those ever-present canned varieties), I wanted to do something which I CAN'T buy anywhere in a can (at least, I haven't found them listed online anywhere as 'Boston Baked Beans' (done with pork and molasses).
1 person likes this
@Inlemay (17333)
• South Africa
24 Nov
We have KOO baked Beans in SA - they are the real mcCoy and did you know that when the SA people who live in the America's and other places come home to visit - they buy a stash of Baked Beans to take home - STRANGE HEY!
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38090)
• Cambridge, England
24 Nov
KOO Baked Beans are "Africa's Favourite Brand", according to the Koo website and the Sunday Times. They seem to be very like the baked beans we buy in cans here (from Heinz, Batchelor's and many other companies) whch are in tomato sauce. I don't recall tasting any American brands but I can believe that they taste different and that is why Sutheyfricans like to import them! The ones I made (which were very good) are different and have no tomato. The flavour comes from the molasses, onion, mustard and salt pork (or bacon). I did find that a tablespoon of Worcester sauce improved them (though it wasn't in the recipe).
1 person likes this
@Inlemay (17333)
• South Africa
24 Nov
@owlwings i dash some worcester sauce on my baked beans anyway - Koo BB are a traditional lunch meal - served warm on toast. Almost like a staple diet - well they are full of protein and taste good too
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@Dena91 (3622)
• United States
15 Nov 16
I haven't ever made any homemade baked beans. After reading your post I may try. Have a blessed day
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38090)
• Cambridge, England
15 Nov 16
There are plenty of recipes out there and, if you have a slow cooker, it's really just 'set and forget', so takes very little time. They are so much better (and better for you) than the canned kind, too!
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
15 Nov 16
Baked beans are a staple of French-Canadian cooking, so I've been preparing them all my life. Years ago, I actually ran an oven for 8 hours to slow-bake them. But that is no longer cost-effective, and I've had very good results with a slow-cooker/crockpot. My recipe is the traditional one that many Maine Franco's use: small white beans (yes, Navy are fine), a medium-sized onion, about 1/4 lb. of salt pork, molasses (I go easy on it, as I like my beans "lighter"), brown sugar, powdered mustard, and black pepper. (Salt is added toward the end of cooking, as it toughens the beans.) I rinse the beans then let them soak overnight in water to just cover them. In the morning, they are plumped up and ready to go. I put everything into the crockpot, give it a stir, and cover with enough water to come just over the beans. I start with High heat, then once the beans are bubbling, I reduce the heat to low, and then just let them be. I take the cover off from time to time to get that wonderful aroma, but I don't do another thing. When I baked them in the oven, I'd need to add hot water to them periodically, as it cooked off quickly. There is no need to do that to crockpot beans, which is another little perk. Years ago, I made some at an assisted living facility for the elderly where I worked as a cook. One old man who had never had crockpot beans kept going to the kitchen all night long, taking the lid off, and adding water. Needless to say, he ruined them. Each time he added water, he slowed the cooking process way down. So the next day, those beans were barely cooked and were still hard as tiny stones. Here in Maine (USA), the big name in canned baked beans is either B&M (there is still a factory that produces them not far from here in Portland, and it smells so good driving by there!), or Bush's. I've never bought Heinz beans in my life, but I have bought the Campbell's in tomato sauce. They're ok in a pinch, but a very small pinch! Hope your beans turned out to your liking! Here you go:
Amazon.com : B&M Original Baked Beans, 16 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) : Grocery & Gourmet Food
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38090)
• Cambridge, England
15 Nov 16
Thanks for the guide and the link. Unfortunately, I can only sit here and mouth-water because they don't ship to the UK (or, if they do, it's at a prohibitive price!). I shall maybe have to ask my niece to bring some when she is next in the UK, I guess, though if the ones I'm cooking now turn out OK, I shan't need to! The recipe I have sounds pretty similar to yours. I knew about salt and cooking beans so I did boil the beans for 10 minutes (as is recommended anyway for most beans) before adding them to the slow cooker. If the beans aren't soft enough after 8 hours, I shall just carry on cooking until they are!
@JohnRoberts (39066)
• Los Angeles, California
15 Nov 16
I have never cared for baked beans especially in tomato sauce.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38090)
• Cambridge, England
15 Nov 16
I know some who can't stand them but every kid I know here would probably happily eat them for every meal - maybe if you do, you could easily grow out of them! I have to say that I usually have to add chili sauce or ketchup to the insipid sauce they usually come it.
@Jessicalynnt (48190)
• Centralia, Missouri
16 Nov 16
never tried anything other than a canned of baked beans and then adding stuff, how did they turn out?
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Nov 16
My mother always made her baked beans from scratch, by soaking the beans overnight. They were good!
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@Corbin5 (79000)
• United States
15 Nov 16
Oh dear, lousy cook I am. I refrain from cooking. Thus, a vegetarian lifestyle which has me eating kidney beans right out of the can for the protein needed. I do hope your Boston Baked Beans go the way of tasty and not horrible.
1 person likes this
@rebelann (31161)
• El Paso, Texas
15 Nov 16
I've tasted the baked beans by Bush but it was too sweet for me so I'm back to making pinto beans. I just remembered, I need to order some more as I have run out ..... thanks for making me remember
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (97271)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Nov 16
We don't eat these sort of beans at all but I hope the recipe is a success for you.
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (21342)
• United States
16 Nov 16
Yes, we love them.
@celticeagle (114391)
• Boise, Idaho
16 Nov 16
What Navy beans? They are good. I never use tomatoes in my baked beans. Molasses and brown sugar. The longer it cooks the better it is.I don't put any salt in it either. I love onions, green pepper and a little cinnamon in mine.