Sunday Supper: Maple Baked Beans


[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.

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Having grown up in a cold, maple-filled part of the world, my love of baked beans runs hard and deep. There is nothing like getting back from snowshoeing to the beer store to a house that is filled with the aroma of sweet, salty, fatty baked beans. As with many recipes, the secret ingredient to life-changing baked beans is pork. Good quality, salty, cured, fatty pork will make you look down on the ketchupy, mushy baked beans of your past and look forward to years of tinkering with this recipe until you finally reach your own bean nirvanna.

This recipe uses simple ingredients, but taking the extra step of using good quality bacon and maple syrup makes a big difference in the final product. As for the pork hock, you can use a smoked one if you'd like but be careful; some hocks can be overly smoky and will take over the delicate flavor of the beans. A vinegary winter green salad and a bottle of ice cold beer round out this Sunday Supper perfectly - and if you're looking to carry through the maple theme, try rounding it out with some maple syrup dumplings for dessert.

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Maple Baked Beans