Here’s my own version of this simple, rustic, and hearty meal. About 10 years ago, I was stricken with a baked beans obsession, much like my more recent ice cream obsession. I tried many variations, eventually arriving at the “perfect” recipe: maple baked beans with apples and ham. And by perfect I mean that we in my family think it’s delicious.
We like our beans less sweet than most versions, with maple syrup rather than molasses, and with apples rather than tomatoes. This has been one of my son’s favorite meals since early elementary school, which I consider a great success. I mean it’s easy to get kids to eat your homemade ice cream, but baked beans? Now that’s a challenge! It goes over really well at potlucks, too, so it’s got appeal beyond the peculiar taste buds of my immediate family.
Aside from the flavor, I love the fact that it uses ingredients that are locally available and humanely produced:
- I get our beans from this wonderful New England farm, Baer’s Best.
- Apples are the crop which puts our little town of Bolton, MA on the map. We grow some of our own, and when those are gone, there are always plenty more available for purchase at local farms.
- We live in sugar maple country, and some years make our own maple syrup.
- We use Certified Humane ham from Vermont Smoke and Cure or Shelburne Farms.
Maple baked beans with apples and ham
- 1 pound dried beans, (such as navy, kidney, or Vermont cranberry), rinsed
- 1/2 to 1 lb diced ham or slab bacon
- 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
- 3 medium McIntosh apples, cored and diced
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Add all ingredients to a Dutch oven.
- Add water just to cover (put a plate on top of the ingredients, to keep them from floating as you add water).
- Cover the pot, put it in the oven, and turn the oven up to 350 degrees F.
- Cook for 4 to 5 hours, depending on how soft you like your beans, removing from oven every 30-60 minutes to stir and add more water if necessary. Beans will absorb water as they cook.
- Serve with a green salad, or, as my husband’s grandmother used to serve baked beans, with cucumber pickles and buttery rolls.
What’s your favorite way to make baked beans? Maple syrup or molasses? Apples or tomatoes? Mustard or no mustard? Meat or no meat? Go ahead, make my day, and leave a comment!
Shared on: HomeAcre Hop #65, From the Farm blog hop, Real Food Fridays #33, Simply Natural Saturdays, Simple Saturdays #18, Homesteaders Hop #8, Simple Life Sunday #13, Homestead Barn Hop #155, Mostly Homemade Mondays #75, Thank Goodness it’s Monday #66, Natural Living Monday, Backyard Farming Connection #76, Tuesdays with a Twist #54, Tasty Tuesday, Down Home #84, Weekend Re-Treat #63