I associate February with crazy storms. When I was in grade three our region was hit with the Groundhog Gale, a massive nor’easter that hit on February 2nd, Groundhog Day.
As an eight year old it was thrilling.
It all started out as a normal school day.
Off we walked to our neighbourhood elementary school in a heavy breeze and pelted with rain. Before recess we could see garbage cans being blown down the street and before lunchtime we were told that school was closing due to the storm and we were all to go home.
Most of us were walkers so out into the gale we went to make our way home.
It was the most thrilling walk of my life. With the wind at our backs we were tossed along the rain coated ice like it was some kind of high-speed carnival ride. We were blown into puddles and hung onto trees to catch our breath. We screamed in delight and took the long way home to prolong the fun.
Can you imagine?
Apparently the winds were clocked at over 140 km per hour and there were reports that salt spray from the Bay of Fundy was found on homes more than 10 kilometres inland. I’m sure we were home before it got that bad but still…
My poor mom hadn’t even been notified that school was closed.
Baked beans are the sort of satisfying meal that helps you weather February storms. The long baking time keeps the kitchen cozy (although they can be baked in a crockpot) and leftovers can be eaten with breakfast.
This is the recipe that I grew up with, adapted from The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book. It has a bit of a bite from the pepper (that’s the sass) to balance the sweetness and develops an amazing depth of flavour. Enjoy these baked beans with oatmeal brown bread , Sarah’s Brown Bread or cracked wheat brown bread
Molasses Baked Beans
- 2 cups dried navy or pea beans
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 ½ tsp. dried mustard
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 slice of bacon, chopped or 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
- Boiling water
- Soak 2 cups of dried navy or white beans in water overnight.
- The next day, drain the beans, put them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes (or until the skins break when you blow on them).
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Drain the beans and put them in a large ovenproof pot or bean crock. Bury peeled onion in the middle of the beans.
- Mix together and pour over the beans: brown sugar, molasses, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Dab with the butter or oil or sprinkle over the bacon pieces.
- Pour over enough boiling water to just cover the beans.
- Cover the pot and cook for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary so the beans do not dry out. Take the lid off for the last half hour of cooking.
Tasty tips: You can also add half a peeled apple to the mixture along with the onion. Try adding left over molasses baked beans to your next batch of chili.
One more thing…
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Here’s to eating well, every day,