Baked Beans Bourgignon

I’ve always though that baked beans and Bourgignon sauce combined would be a match made in heaven.  Think about it.  Baked beans. With wine. And rosemary. And lots of roasted mushrooms. After trying it the verdict is that it’s damn decadent: pure comfort food be it for breakfast, lunch or supper.

At breakfast, it can stand alone.  For a brunch, it would also work well with a tofu scramble and some whole grain toast or as a side for a savory waffle of some kind.  For lunch or supper, try it alongside a crisp green salad, over a mash of cauliflower, celery root or plain old potato.

What you need:

  • 2 cups dry beans (I used home-grown Nicteaux beans, but given you won’t find those bouncing around a grocery, any large bean will work.  Orca, Cranberry or Scarlet Runners are great if you can find them although Lima beans, Pinto beans or Great Northern beans would work equally well)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 24 oz (3 packages) cremini or white button mushrooms, large ones quartered and small ones halfed
  • 3 carrots, roll-cut or cut into chunky pieces (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 3 onions, finely diced
  • 1 cup strong red wine
  • 3 cups blood-building bouillon or strong mushroom stock (see note at the end)
  • 1/4 cup organic blackstrap molasses (if you want a milder flavour, use fancy molasses)
  • 1/4 cup organic smooth peanut butter (the only peanut, salt and sugar-free kind.  If there are nut sensitivities, then a seed butter of your choice can be used instead)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 sprig fresh
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (if your broth isn’t salted, to taste if it is)

What you do:

  1. Soak the dry beans overnight in a generous amount of fresh water.
  2. Drain the beans, add to a pot with fresh water to cover by an inch or two along with the bay leaves and whole garlic cloves.
  3. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat.  Simmer on stove-top until beans are tender but still have tooth.  They shouldn’t be completely done and make sure they aren’t breaking up.  Depending on what kind of bean you’re using, the time that will take can vary quite a bit so check them often.  Since you want some cooking time left, stay away from the pressure cooker for this one.  Once the beans are ready, drain them and compost the garlic and bay.  Set aside.
  4. While the beans are cooking, preheat the oven to 400F, and chop the veggies.
  5. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and separate the mushrooms between them.  Drizzle each pan with 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and a liberal sprinkling of salt and fresh-cracked pepper.  Toss the contents of each sheet to distribute the oil, salt and pepper evenly.
  6. Roast the mushrooms in the oven 30-35 minutes, switching the pans around and giving them a toss at the half-way mark.  The mushrooms should be shrunken down with most of the moisture released and lots of yummy golden bits.  Remove from the oven to cool and set aside.
  7. Reduce the heat of the oven to 325F.  In a large dutch oven or oven-safe pot heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium flame.
  8. When hot, add the onions.  Lower the heat a little and cook the onions until golden (10-15 minutes) or caramelized (much much longer at an even lower flame), depending on the patience you have.  My patience usually wanes at golden.
  9. Add the garlic, mustard powder and rosemary and toss for a minute or two, until fragrant.
  10. Add the wine and bouillon or stock and allow it to get hot so that you’ll be able to melt in the molasses and peanut butter in the next step.
  11. Add the molasses and stir to mix.
  12. Put the peanut butter in a large measuring cup and add some of the warm liquid from the pot (about 1/3 cup or so).  Whisk until smooth and then add it to the pot and stir to mix evenly.  There shouldn’t be any peanut butter chunks hiding anywhere.
  13. Add the beans, turn off the stove-top burner and stick it all in the oven, uncovered, to bake for 2 hours or until the sauce is reduced and the beans are very tender.  Give it a toss every once in a while as it cooks.
  14. During the baking, add the carrots at the 1-1/2-hour mark (or a half-hour before you’ll be taking it out of the oven).
  15. The roasted mushrooms go in at the 1-3/4-hour mark (or 15 minutes before you’ll be taking it out of the oven).
  16. Once it’s done, let it sit 10 minutes or so before digging in.


Note: So what the hell is blood-building bouillon?  The recipe is never the same frome one time to another.  It’s an herbal broth made with vegetable left-overs and herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medecine and/or Ayurveda to build blood (translation: ward off anemia and low energy).  Generally, it will combine organic beet and carrot peelings, cabbage core chunks, kombu, bay, onion, dang gui, burdock, ligusticum, prepared rhemannia, chaga mushroom and jujube date in varying proportions.  Chances are you don’t have most of those bouncing around your kitchen.  A strong mushroom stock will do just fine.  If you don’t have that, your own homemade veggie stock (preferably made with roasted veggies) will work quite well too.  While you can use regular veggie bouillon or water,  the flavour won’t be nearly as complex.

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