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I have wonderful bean memories by the campfire. Conclusion: Dry beans are not winter vegetables. Alright, I baked these in the oven, but I could have cooked them over the campfire.

Back in our camping days we only used the Coleman for breakfast or in heavy rain slid under the car… long story. You do what you have to do. In Prince Rupert you go camping in the rain or you don’t go camping. Our friends used to wait for us and shouts of jubilation went up when we arrived; Jim could start a fire anywhere. He also carried dry wood in the Volkswagen.

A while back I tried Hugh’s "Simple Beans". What can I say? We can’t be good at everything.

Overnight soak is less complicated plus it tastes better. I never seem to get the same result with speed-soaking. Precook the beans on the stove and make sure they are as tender as you want them to be. In the oven the flavours will come together, but the beans will not soften no matter how long you bake them.

1 cup dry cannellini beans
Or 2 tins cannellini beans, drained
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onions, finely chopped
a nice chunk of Canadian bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes [fresh or canned]
1/2 cup espresso
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

  • Soak 1 cup dry cannellini beans overnight.
  • Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • Add 4 cups of water and cook beans tender, adding water if needed.
  • Drain the beans and add them to a bean pot.
  • Or drain 2 tins of cannellini beans and add them to the bean pot.
  • After this point the preparation is the same weather you use dry or canned beans.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring, until soft.
  • Add the onions to the bean pot.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and give it a stir.
  • Bake at 325F for a few hours until the beans develop a thick sauce.
  • Adjust the salt, sugar and the cider vinegar to taste.


  1. I got all excited about the recipe until I saw the espresso. I don't have any and am unlikely to get any in the near future but I'd still like to FINALLY make my own baked beans. Can I leave it out or substitute something else to get whatever flavour it adds to the recipe?

    1. Or make a small amount of VERY strong coffee. If you don't brew your own coffee get a small jar of instant coffee. 2 Tbsp of instant coffee would do the trick. A small jar could last you for years. Or get a tall dark roast from Starbucks. Coffee makes a huge difference to baked beans.

  2. I'm an instant Nescafe coffee drinker and have been for years so I'm set. I'll use regular white onions as I think I've only ever bought red onions once. I'm going to have to write myself a reminder to make this soon. I'm making falafel, chicken satay, pork souvlaki and pad thai tomorrow.




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