I can remember visiting a Great Aunt when I was a girl with my family and she served baked beans for dinner one night while we were there. I can still remember the wonderful smell wafting throughout her kitchen for most of the day and the anticipation of what was to come . . . and the disappointment when my plate was set in front of me. These weren't baked beans like my mother made. My mother always used the small white haricots beans for baking . . . and my Great Aunt had used Jacob's Cattle Beans. As soon as my brother, sister and I saw them we made up our minds that we weren't going to like them. You know what kids are like . . . I am sure my mother was terribly embarassed.
They were probably just as delicious as my mother's beans were . . . they may have even been more delicious. I will never know. Happy to say that I have outgrown that narrow minded squeamishness I had when I was a child. I keep a wide variety of tinned and dried beans in my larder and I love to use them for all sorts. They are a great store cupboard ingredient and very versatile. Filled with protein they are also very nutritious.
I saw a similar recipe to this on the Donna Hay site the other day. I pinched the best bits of it and adapted it to what I had in my own cupboard with most delicious results. I used chopped tinned tomatoes in juice, undrained . . . instead of tomato sauce.
I also chose to bake the casserole in the oven for that oven baked flavour. It took a bit longer, but was well worth it I would say. They turned out fabulously delicious.
I dare say that the ten year old me would have probably turned her nose up at these . . . but the fifty nine year old me loved them! They made for a really delicious and simple store cupboard supper that I served along with some of those buttermilk biscuits I made the other day. Economical too!
*Maple Baked Butter Beans*Serves 4
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the pancetta. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until beginning to brown. Add the mustard powder, tomato paste, Worestershire Sauce, brown sugar, maple syrup, chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to the boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the butter beans. Pour this into the casserole dish. Bang the casserole into the heated oven.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring about halfway through the time, until the sauce has thickened nicely and they are lightly browned on top. Serve hot with plenty of crusty bread for sopping up all those fabulous juices!