Saturday, October 23, 2010

The morning after baking day

Another dozen rolls and another loaf of bread are already in the freezer. The pizza is long gone. The beans, still warm, are waiting to go in the freezer.

I managed the baking times a little better this time. Except for the pizza, which got a bit charred just at the edge, the crusts were all perfect. And it turns out that the time required to eat a pizza dinner is the perfect time to allow the oven to cool down for the first loaves of bread.

Vegetarian Baked Beans

3 cups white pea beans, soaked overnight
1 large onion, chopped
1 tart apple, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup tomato paste or ketchup
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. curry powder

Cover beans in water and bring to a boil. Simmer for half an hour. In the meantime, prepare other ingredients and dump into a heavy baking dish with a lid. Add simmered beans and stir. Add enough fresh water to bring the level up to the top of the beans. Cover pot and place in a slow oven (275ºF) for 4-6 hours. Add a bit of water as necessary. An hour before serving, mash a few of the beans and stir in. Add more water if necessary, or uncover if too watery. Time and temperature are very flexible. You can start the beans at 9 a.m. and set the temperature a bit lower and leave them all day, or you can start at 2 pm and bump the temperature up a bit hotter. Or you can (apparently) put them in a fairly hot thermal mass oven and leave them overnight as the temperature gradually cools.

(About the seasonings: I really just wing these. I always use onion, though sometimes I pitch in more than one. I always use about a third of a cup total of something brown and sweet, a similar quantity of something tomato-based, a bit of some kind of vinegar, plus salt and pepper. The rest is just by guess and by gosh. The curry powder is a nice touch in traditional baked beans and a teaspoon gives just a subtle flavour. You can triple the apples and triple the curry powder to make a real curry-flavoured pot which is nice for variety sometimes. Sometimes I'll pitch in some soy-based browning, or some vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, or some liquid smoke, or use maple syrup instead of molasses and brown sugar. It is quite fun to experiment.)

Serve with fresh-baked bread or rolls.

Left-over baked beans can be mashed a bit more and stored in the fridge to be used as a savory vegetarian sandwich spread. Beans also freeze well.


  1. Beans and bread! Yummy..they look amazing!

  2. Yum!! Everything looks fantastic. Will have to try bean recipe - I love making from soaked beans, but most recipes are for canned, and not the white beans (not a huge fan of pinto). Sounds great!


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