Boston may be Beantown, but almost every town and village in New England has its own unique recipe for baked beans, each celebrating its local culture and heritage. In Maine, you’ll find beans drizzled with molasses and studded with salt pork; in Massachusetts that means bacon and brown sugar.
In tiny Vermont, known for its maple trees, it’s all about baked beans seasoned with real maple syrup.
The syrup adds a great deal of sweetness, yes, but it adds an almost spice-like depth of flavor. We bring that out by using fresh ginger root, which lends a subtle spiciness to balance the sweetness. Dry mustard adds a bit of much-needed acidity and brightens the dish. And of course, you can’t have baked beans without some kind of pork fat, and here we’ve used bacon. Feel free to use thick, rasher-cut bacon for a rustic feel.
Serve these authentic New England beans with a ham or roast supper. And remember, baked beans are better the more time they have to sit as their flavors meld, so don’t be afraid to make lost for leftovers!
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root, (or 1/3 teaspoon dry ginger)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 48-ounce jar Randall Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 slices bacon, cut into fourths
Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onions and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. In a mixing bowl, gently stir together the onion mixture with the ginger, mustard, salt, pepper, syrup and Randall Great Northern Beans.
Pour into a baking dish and top with the bacon pieces. Bake in the center of a preheated 400° oven for 1 hour or until bacon is browned.
8 to 10 servings.
For a typical “Boston Baked Bean” flavor, substitute 1/2 cup molasses and 1/2 cup light brown sugar for the maple syrup. Less expensive and also tasty.
Try some of our favorite bean recipes like Cinco De Mayo Roasted Corn and Black-eyed Pea Beans Pico, Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes with Chorizo or Southwest Black Bean & Quinoa Salad for dinner tonight!