When I was a kid, canned beans were one of three weekend lunch staples (the others being Kraft Dinner and Campbell’s soup, of course). Each can always had a single piece of fat, which I surmise allowed them to labeled ‘pork and beans.’ I don’t think this was as big a selling feature as the makers imagined. We called it the ‘prize’ as in “ew! you got the prize!” No one ever ate it.
Beans were second in the hierarchy after KD (like all Canadian youth, we had an irrational love for macaroni-with-powdered-orange-cheese). We ate them with Worchestershire sauce, a habit we picked up from a babysitter we once had.
As an adult, I somehow got roped into eating tomato sauce beans, which always tasted meh to me. I put it down to not being so keen on canned food anymore. That is, until I discovered there are two kinds of beans: the tomato sauce kind and the molasses kind. Aha! It was the molasses beans I wanted.
(My search-fu tells me the beans I remember were Libby’s, which has since been bought out by Heinz, makers of the bland tomato sauce beans.)
Rather than reverting to food in a can, which would inevitably be a disappointment, I decided to try making them. How hard could it be? Not very, it turns out. I used this recipe from Simply Recipes. I basically followed the recipe as-is, but I’m not going to say “exactly” because it always amuses me when someone comments on a recipe: “This recipe is great! I followed it exactly! Except… [long list of substitutions, additions, deletions].” lol. Anyway, here are my notes:
Step 2. There were only 2 tbsp of Dijon left in the jar, so I used 1 tbsp of yellow mustard to make up the difference.
Step 3. I used 4 pieces of bacon, chopped up into very small pieces. Going for flavor, not unwanted “prizes.” (I think they’d be fine without the bacon, but would need to sub in some oil/salt.)
Step 4. I baked them in the oven in the big pot I make soup in (I don’t have a dutch oven. The pot worked fine. I don’t think the beans care what kind of handle(s) the vessel you use has ;)). They didn’t need any additional water, but I did check on them and stir them a few times. I took them out after 7½ hours, because they were done.
Verdict: delicious! Will definitely make these again. Super easy, just requires a bit of planning ahead.