New England Saturday Night Supper

June 20, 2008 · 12 comments · Print This Post

in Dinner, Maine, Nostalgia, Products, Reviews, To Buy / To Try

New England Baked Beans

Recently on a brief trip to Portland, Maine to celebrate my friend Holly’s graduation from Grad School (and also to thoroughly scope out the layout of her house so that I can covertly sneak in and “borrow” her brand new Corgi puppy) CK and I decided to make a quick stop in Freeport. Now for any of you that have had the pleasure of visiting Freeport, you know that it’s impossible for the time you spend there to ever be brief. Freeport is not only home to the Flagship L.L. Bean store, but it’s also packed with fabulous small boutiques and outlets. When I was little I loved visiting so I could check out the in-store open aquarium at L..L. Bean and watch the trout swimming at the base of the spiral staircase, and when I got older I loved having the chance to refresh my wardrobe. Therefore it’s been one of my favorite spots in Maine for most of my life.

CK had never been to Freeport, so I made sure to give him the full touristy tour and while we were checking out the large “Home” section at L.L. Bean I lost my mind, apparently forgot momentarily that I actually was from Maine, and bought a New England Maple Baked Beans gift set. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I was seduced by that mini bottle of Maple Syrup and the cute red bow. In case you aren’t aware, Baked Beans are the traditional Saturday night fare in New England and my grandparents always served them with hot dogs and B&M Brown Bread. Yes that’s the bread that comes in a can. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Honestly, growing up, I hated homemade baked beans, and would avoid them at all cost in favor of the one’s that came in a can. But this little gift set has changed my tune. After following the directions for sorting, soaking, prepping, and baking I was rewarded with the most delicious bowl of baked beans I’ve ever had. It probably didn’t hurt that they were full of brown sugar, tart green apple bites, Vermont maple syrup, and a really obscene amount of thick cut bacon. I served my bean “supper” with ridiculously overpriced hot dogs from Whole Foods and whipped up a loaf of Mark Bitman’s Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread, which tastes eerily similar to that bread in a can I have such fond memories of.

So in the Fall, if you’re looking for something hearty to serve a small army than definitely consider trying out this set or whipping up your own homemade batch of baked beans. If you do order the online kit just keep in mind that they’re calling it “Vermont Maple Baked Beans.” In addition, that cute little bottle of amber colored syrup is only a third of the amount that you actually use in the dish so be sure to stock up on your favorite real maple syrup before you begin the time consuming, but definitely worthwhile, cooking process.

Beans!  It's What's for

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cze-Johnson Carrie June 20, 2008 at 11:47 am

huh? did you write something???

I’m still trying to stop looking at the bacon.

the dish looks good; good enough that I may once again try to see if I have stopped hating baked beans.

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2 Chuck June 20, 2008 at 12:29 pm

I love homemade baked beans and the added maple sounds great. I bookmarked so I wouldn’t forget to make these beans!

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3 Jeff D June 20, 2008 at 2:22 pm

We never did bread in a can (shudders) but the rest of it sounds like every Saturday night of my childhood.

I actually got an old clay bean pot for a gift about a year ago and have yet to use it to make beans. I also found a local farmer’s market with a farm that sells grass fed meats (including bacon AND fatback.)

I think gourmet hot dogs and beans are on the menu soon.

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4 Elle June 20, 2008 at 4:34 pm

That brown bread in a can rocks! And don’t think of it as canned bread, it’s just baked in there. Well, steamed, i think? I have tried to recreate it at home and had dismal failures.

The beans look great! I adore Freeport, too. And Corgi puppies. ;)

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5 mark June 20, 2008 at 5:19 pm

YUM! the apple sounds good in it And the brown bread in a can has to be sliced as it comes out with a bit of yellow mustard on it! AGAIN YUM!
I’ll be making some of this tomorrow!

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6 Jennifer June 21, 2008 at 11:31 am

Isn’t it funny how we occasionally forget about our roots in Maine, but then *whack* it hits you again? I always hated baked beans as a kid because Mom used KIDNEY beans instead of pea beans, that everyone else had…. but now that I’ve got tons of Maine maple syrup from Aunt Ellen, I think it’s time to haul that recipe back out.

Thanks for the great post.

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7 Stacy June 21, 2008 at 2:25 pm

I’ve never had homemade baked beans, but I love the canned ones and I bet homemade is even better. They look so perfect along with that hot dog. Yum!

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8 FoodieTots June 21, 2008 at 11:30 pm

My grandfather grew up in New England, and now I know why we always had baked beans with hot dogs. We used canned, just added a few things to it. I’m going to have to give homemade a try, yours look so much better!

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9 Donald June 22, 2008 at 3:51 am

Bacon! Everything is better with bacon, EVERYTHING!!!! :-)

We Philidelphians used to have baked beans and hot dogs with homefries every Friday nite. My mom called it the “poor man’s meal”. No hotdog rolls either; white bread rolled around the dog was the way to go. Single mom, three kids, inner city, you get the idea.

Cool trip to LL Bean. I was such the “preppy” in high school. We, a bunch of students from my prep school, took a trip up there back in ’80. I used to love their oxford shirts. I’m an Armani, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, guy now, but I still have white bucks!

I’ll be giving these beans a try. They’ll be great along side some pulled pork.

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10 michelle @ TNS June 23, 2008 at 2:31 pm

why the quotes around supper? that looks like supper to me. i mean, just look at the bacon! (seriously, i can’t step looking at it).

also, i don’t care what anyone says, i don’t trust bread in a can.

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11 EB June 23, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Bacon anything and I’m in.

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