Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ma's famous baked beans

Just like the tortiere recipe, this recipe is a holiday favourite in my family. The story about the recipe is actually kind of funny. My sister and I always thought that our mother used an ancient, secret family recipe to make her signature beans at Christmas. There was always a big deal about making them, with much fuss and bother.

Then one year we convened our Christmas celebrations in Ottawa at my sister's instead of at our mother's in Montreal. So, Ma had to make the beans in public -- where we could observe and learn. We were horrified to discover that the recipe is actually taken from the recipe book that came with the family pressure cooker. Our illusions were shattered.

Anyways, my sister is now the keeper-of-the-recipe-book and this recipe is based on observing her preparing the beans for this year's Christmas Eve celebration. She used both my mother's notes and the Presto pressure cooker instruction manual.


  1. Approx. 2 cups navy beans
  2. 4 or 5 fairly thick slices of cooked ham, preferably left over from a recent meal
  3. 1/2 pound bacon, cooked, excess fat discarded
  4. 3 tbsp brown sugar
  5. 3 tbsp molasses
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  8. 1 medium onion, diced
  9. 2 tbsp ketchup
  10. water


  1. Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain and reserve soaking water.
  2. Sear bacon in cooker, discard excess fat.
  3. Add beans, sugar, molasses, salt, mustard, onion, ketchup and enough soaking water to cover the beans well
  4. Close cover securely and pressure cook for 45 with regulator rocking slowly. Let pressure drop of it's own accord.
  5. In a bean pot, put a layer of cooked ham. Put in approx. 1/3 of the bean mixture and continue to layer beans and ham, finishing with beans.
  6. Put bean pot in the oven at 350 for 1 - 1.5 hours for all the flavours to meld.

Note from sister:

Often referred to in John's blog as "my sister," no doubt readers are doubtful of my existence. John is kind to not record our misadvertures this year - the second year without my mother's guidance on all things Christmas has proved to be interesting. In any case, we are about to eat and things have turned out ok. My name, by the way, is Michele. Happy holidays!


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