Baked beans have a place in every American heart…and it’s a good thing. In this version, I use cannellini beans, which are white Italian kidney beans that have been proven to aid in strengthening our hearts. This version is my grandmother’s recipe, so there’s a bit of an Italian twist to it.
Makes 4-5 servings
2 cups dried cannellini beans, rinsed, sorted
6 cups spring or filtered water
2 bay leaves
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
4, 8-ounce cans tomato paste
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup barley malt
2 teaspoons dried mustard
Cracked black pepper
Scant pinch ground nutmeg
Scant pinch ground cinnamon
Scant pinch smoked paprika
Place beans and water in a heavy pot with bay leaves and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about an hour. Drain and transfer beans and bay leaves to a lightly oiled large casserole dish.
Preheat oven to 300o.
Place oil in a skillet with onion and garlic over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir into beans.
Whisk together tomato paste, diced tomatoes, barley malt, mustard, a light seasoning of salt and pepper and spices. Mix into the beans until well incorporated.
Cover and bake for 3 ½ hours, stirring frequently and adding a small amount of water, if needed, to keep the beans moist as they bake. Remove cover and bake 30 minutes more to ‘set’ the beans.
Cook’s Tip: You can use canned organic beans for this recipe to save cooking time. Rinse them well before using. Your baking time will likely be cut in half as well.