Baked Beans Variant

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Washing Up
Jun 26, 2004
Getting creative with cooking need not mean breaking the bank at the grocery's a little recipe for that humble generic can of beans stuck at the back of the pantry...

eight slices thick cut bacon, cut to 3/" lengths and fried until cooked, but not crisp...

Leaving the fat in the pan, add

One small vidalia onion, diced
3 tablespoons of chopped garlic

saute this at lower heat until onions are transluscent...

add 16 oz can of baked beans; or, even better, the campfire variety with kidney beans added...mix well...

add 1/2 cup ketchup, or BBQ sauce

add 1/3 cup of maple syrup, (or brown sugar, in a pinch!)

(you're continuing stirring? GOOD!)

Add a half of a large pepper, cleaned, hulled, deseeded, and diced...I'll leave it to your taste if you want it green (sweet), red (sweet) or if you wish to venture into hot peppers...

Add 1 cup of finely ground applesauce...

Sprinkle with cayenne (to taste!)

A meal in itself, it is an accompaniment to just about anything...I like to cook up a batch and pour into thermoses when heading up the lake for spring trout fishing, and serving with said fresh fried trout (see Cottage Country North Exigencies in the seafood section!) as a shore lunch, with either beer or really cheap sparkling red wine, and chunks of cheddar cheese with a bit of ham garlic sausage (in the case the fish aren't biting!)
but its a good sub-in for dinner where you have a pile of dribs and drabs around, and nothing jumping out at you to build the dinner from...(if you want to know where I get to holiday, go to, we are lucky enough to have cottages there, that we don't have to pay the outrageous costs that the Lodge charges...but you'll get the idea of "shore lunch", where you can ground your boat, set your beercan lines, break up the native pine and birch for a fire, fillet and fry your catch...

Lifter, I meant to respond when I first saw this recipe that clearly takes "doctored beans" to an entirely new level. This sounds so good and today is the day I'm going to give it a whirl.

But more than that, a special thanks for the glimpse into Hawk Lake Lodge. I've just spent a wonderful half hour paging through the site. It must be an absolute Eden for fishing in this area that seems to be one continuous thread of lakes going on endlessly. How beautiful. How fortunate you envious I am! I sure would love to wrap my tastebuds around a honey-glazed walleye. The only other person I know down here who even knows what a walleye is is my Canadian neighbors!

Enjoy your shore lunches...!
Thanks Audeo!

I'd be thrilled if you'd give a comment after you've tried this, and will listen for any suggestions you might have...

Note I got the basic recipe from "Cook Like a Chef" a Canadian cooking show, shot up in Ottawa...


I thought Texas was a beautiful place when I was there a few years ago-you have to experience a Canadian winter to appreciate your part of the continent!
Wow. Lifter, I was sceptical about the applesauce at first, but it had an amazing effect in terms of depth of flavor and in thickening. This recipe is absolutely, hands-down, the best bean recipe I've made yet. And it was so easy, so quick (but I did let mine simmer for about half an hour).

To offer some background, I have always made mine as my father did, using pork and beans, diced onion and green bell pepper, Steens cane syrup, a blob of yellow mustard and bacon, prepared much the same order as your recipe.

The irony for me is that I love good maple syrup (I buy 2 gallons usually every spring from New Hampshire (Grade B, Amber), and that's what initially attracted me to your recipe. I can't believe I didn't use it before!)

I followed your recipe to the tee. Am I ever glad that I did! Today was my "Discuss Cooking" cooking day, and this was the PERFECT side to a pork shoulder I baked for about 8 hours today (Thank you Bang for the rub and Rainee, et al, for the cooking directions). Then made coleslaw and had homemade buns.

(Burp) Excuse me! We shall all sleep well tonight.

Lifter, I have a sincere respect for all of you guys who endure a real winter up there! :shock: I've travelled more than my share to Montreal and Toronto, but I know your winter in Ontario makes theirs seem tropical at times. Brrr....! Texas is a perfect place to winter, and not a dram of salt! (The downside is that a brand new set of snow tires dry-rotted in my storage shed after moving here from Connecticut years ago. No one here even knew what they were! Turned them into in-ground planters.)

Thank you, sir!
Hi Audeo, glad you enjoyed it!

Damnit all, anyways, your Dad's recipe had that final tweak, which is the teaspoon of hot Dijon Mustard....I MUST learn to write these down, instead of going by memory!

Yeah, its funny, I doubted the applesauce at first, until I did this thing and understood that applesauce and garlic both cook out relatively sweetly, and we are making sort of a pork condiment, and the texture would be exactly right...

Not sure you shouldn't play the quantity thing back and forth, according to your "can of beans" texture, to get the right "look" to it...I'm lousy at measuring and cook like my Mom showed me all those years ago, that "when it looks and feels like so" its ready...

And plainly, long slow cooking does this better, as does making it on a BBQ...

Audeo, "winter" in SW Ontario is for [word removed - please don't use that word on this site]!

If you want winter, I speak from long experience of winter in said north rock covered Ontario, of the freaking freezing Plains and the tundra of the Arctic...

We've lived here on the shores of Lake Ontario for 16 years, and my wife claims she has not even seen winter since we left Saskatoon!

Fly back home, step outside the terminal, and feel all your nose hairs crystallize to ice with the first waft of -40 air, get in the pitifully heated vehicle and drive the first quarter mile with frozen "square" tires, watch the sun rise at 0930 and set at 1600 (or in the Arctic, spend a couple months not seeing it at all!), get 10" of snow this weekend (okay, that guarantees that there are significant numbers of Canucks on our football teams!)

Why it gets so cold up here, that ONCE I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets!

No Lie!

Lifter said:
Why it gets so cold up here, that ONCE I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets!

No Lie!


I don't doubt it a bit, Lifter. Years ago, way back in college, I joined in on a kayak run down the Yukon from Whitehorse, B.C. to Kwiguk Alaska at the Bering Sea. It was during the "summer" months, mind you, but the highs were in the 50s and 60s!!! That was late June, through July, into the first week of August!!! Indeed, God's country.

(Hush, BuckyTom...)
Whitehorse is in the Yukon, not BC (my brother-in-law's brother lives there...big moose in plenty, good caribou hunting, not the skin on the rec-room wall...but understand where the lines are on the map, unsigned on the ground! (LOL!)

This sounds about like what passed for "summer" this year in NW Ontario...

When I was a kid would open a can of pork and beans, add some syrup, Coleman's mustard, and a bit of vinegar. Sometimes would cut up a hot dog or ham (even deli ham), and toss it in.

Would eat it plain or over toast.

This is clearly not in the category of the recipes that have been posted above, but it was a quick way to improve a can of beans.
we always have just added brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, black pepper, and that's it! i wast to try your recipe, lifter. sounds like a nice change. :)
those good beans...

In my 30 odd years of cooking I have so rarely opened a can of beans myself - usually make them from scratch, being French Canadian - I leave the cans for my family when I am away for longer than a few days LOL

I decided when I read your recipe today that I should try it, especially since you mentioned those forgotten cans in the back of cupboards... since we are renovating part of our kitchen, said cans were relegated to the basement storage area a couple of weeks back - not a good thing!

Started with the equivalent of 4 cups chopped onion, which I let caramelize for 15 minutes... added 2 cups of chopped green and red sweet pepper, then 3 - 19-oz cans of beans, and 1 -28-oz can of lentils.

Added a small snack container of apple-tropical fruit and 1/3 cup maple syrup, some ketchup, dry mustard, cayenne pepper...

Did not use the suggested meat, as we are still semi-vegetarian...


Thank you for the inspiration...

near Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi Jocelyne

Quite a quantity you are cooking there!

Thought your onion quantity was about right, and the pepper quantity appropriate, interesting that you added them early, but whose to say that's wrong? You'll get some interesting differences, as you indicate!

Lentils would be "interesting", being a British Canadian, these seldom appear in the Anglophone diet, but I can understand where these'd be equivalent to "my" kidney bean suggestion, so why not?

I think you'd find adding considerably to the amount of apple sauce (at least triple, it; you could even double that to 6x what you used..likewise adding garlic early and in quantity...

Likewise, try upping the maple syrup, and switching to a BBQ sauce...maybe, if you don't use the "campfire" variant of beans, a dash or so of chili powder...

I think you beat me with use of powdered mustard, as that would in fact be a superior way...

Can't disagree, if you want to take out the bacon, that won't necessarily "hurt" the recipe, just makes it less chewy!

Funny to think you are less than 30 miles away, probably Welland or thereabouts?


About the quantity, it seems like a lot but in our family this dish is a full meal - only bread added for a complete protein - so in effect there is enough only for two full meals for 4 adults.

We add the sweet chopped pepper as soon as the onion is caramelized, we let the pepper cook quite a lot before adding the beans, about 7 to 8 minutes, because some of us - namely the children (even though they are teens) - don't like to bite into "al dente" pepper pieces... (lol)

Lentils are not a part of the French Canadian tradition - at least not where I grew up - but we learned to incorporate them into many dishes as early as '93...

We have to be very careful about the amount of sugar (in all its forms, be it apple sauce or maple syrup) in our recipes for many health reasons. Once you begin to reduce the amount asked for, you find that an appreciation for sweetness develops rather rapidly and it's not needed to use a lot.

My mother has always used powdered mustard in her bean dishes and that is one thing I learned from her that I have continued to do over the years.

Look for an email about my location.

I pretty much doctor up canned beans the same as everyone else:

chopped white onions (lots of them)
tad of Bull's Eye bbq sauce
yellow mustard
powdered mustard
brown sugar
somtimes topped with bacon strips

Get the Bush's maple flavor and homestyle for a good combination. I can't really remember the names but this is close I think.
Hi Elf

Abandon the molasses and brown sugar, and use maple syrup instead; then add a half a cup of applesauce to your mixture, and you'll be blown away with the quality of the result!

Do let us know your opinion, Elf, when you get there!

And you "tweaks" as well!


Lifter - I have the baked beans in the oven now - I can already tell ('cause I tasted them before I even put them in the oven) that the applesauce is going to be excellent!!!
The baked beans were great Lifter - the applesauce gave it another layer of flavor - sort of brightens things up a bit!!!! Thanks for the suggestions you gave me!!
Thanks "Elf"!

You can get it up there a tad more with the fried up bacon, eliminating the ketchup and advancing the Bull's Eye to a quarter cup, and Dijon Mustard is worth a try, too...

And garlic, adding it early on...will add a pile of good flavour results...

Now that you may "trust" me with the freaky addition of applesauce! (LOL!) Try making the applesauce from scratch, and a bit "chunkier" in texture, and (along with the other "suggestions") you might be taking this another pace down the road...

But am seriously pleased you liked the results...

And/or try cooking it on a BBQ, with the top down (the BBQ's of course!) and some smoke going on in there... different taste to a solid recipe!


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