For the Love of Baked Beans

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Can you envision a potluck, ham supper, or summer cookout without baked beans? We can’t! The Yankee Magazine recipe archives are overflowing with recipes for this classic New England dish, and while we think there are few ways to do them wrong, for the love of baked beans we’re sharing a few of our favorites here for your molasses-infused pleasure.

Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans
“This dish, New England’s favorite Saturday night supper, is apt to be eaten again with codfish balls for breakfast on Sunday morning, and I doubt if a church supper has even been held here that didn’t offer big pots of beans along with baked ham, chicken pie, and cole slaw.”

Bourbon Baked Beans
“If you’d rather start with the canned variety, try this Kennebunk, Maine, way to doctor them up — and convince everyone you slaved for hours. These are hearty, flavorful, and perfect for a summer cookout.”

Fiesta Baked Beans
“A good and easy supper with a spicy kick that can also be left to simmer all day in a slow cooker on low heat.”

Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Baked Beans
“All the goodness of seasoned, simmered old-fashioned New England baked beans, without the salt pork plus the added convenience of the slow cooker! Both bean traditionalists and vegetarians will gobble these up.”

Bean-Hole Baked Beans
“For 75 years, the Smith/Smart family has gathered annually in Maine to enjoy each other’s company and feast on a potluck meal. There’s always one staple: real bean-hole baked beans. John Madden, whose mother was a Smart, says that the family sometimes has three pots of beans going at once. (“They eat a lot of beans up there, morning, noon, and night sometimes,” says John’s wife, Evelyn.) John suggests using a three-legged, cast-iron kettle with a flared sheet metal cover to bake the beans in.”

Maine Baked Beans with an Italian Touch
“This recipe is based on one my 94-year-old aunt sent to her 90-year-old brother when he lost his mother’s bean “rule,” but since my Yankee palate has been hopelessly contaminated by a number of years in Italy, I’ve added some unorthodox garlic and increased the number of bay leaves. Aunt Doris’s instructions ended: “You said you lost your recipe, so I put it on a card. This time, tack it up inside cupboard door.” And that’s where I keep it.”

Vermont-Style Baked Beans
“This maple-laced, slow-cooked dish ranks high among our favorites. We love the bacon, but be sure to use a brand that’s not too smoky, to avoid overpowering the rest of the party. Yellow-eye beans are a traditional Maine crop, but navy beans are a good substitute (although they don’t hold their shape as well).”

New England Baked Bean Soup
“Baked Beans — a classic New England dish if there ever was one. But why stop at eating them as a side dish? Thinned out with a little water, and flavored with tomatoes, celery, onion, and extra spices, baked beans also make a delicious soup! We started with a recipe from the original Fannie Farmer cookbook, then modified it to keep it simple and easy. We think you’ll love Baked Bean Soup with a grilled cheese or hot dog for a quick winter evening meal.”

  • kendall

    Did State of Maine canned beans go out of business? Hannaford no longer has them.


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