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From the mouths of babes to the love of one-pot meals

I love one pot meals. Poor man’s cabbage rolls come immediately to mind.

I love one pot meals. Poor man’s cabbage rolls come immediately to mind.

In actual fact, most casseroles fit that description. A great casserole that most of us do not have often enough is baked beans. Beans as a casserole? Why not! It is done in one pot too so it also qualifies as a one pot meal. Not only that but baked beans are good for you.

I was talking to my brother, who lives in Ottawa, and he told me that the best beans he ever tasted were from a little cookbook I did for the CBC a while ago. It’s called Baked Beans in a Dutch Oven and it is cooked in a pit. Now I know that it’s not easy to find a pit at this time of year, but my brother does them in the oven and the whole family raves about them. So I guess a pit is not really necessary.

I’ll give you the recipe in a minute, but first I have to tell you a funny little story. When I was in the catering business I did two or three wedding cakes a week. I think the attraction was they were all natural, right down to the separators—the usual plastic swans or whatever holds the layers apart. I made mine from marzipan and royal icing. One night I had a rush order and stayed up late making a set of separators for a six layer cake.

I left them on the kitchen table and when I went to get them in the morning, I found four gone. My daughter, hardly more than a toddler at the time, got up in the middle of the night and ate the separators.

Needless to say I was not all that happy but what could I do. I used liquor glasses and the bride thought it was great. I kept using them after that for the bottom layer and everybody loved them. What’s that saying, ‘out of the mouths of babes?’ How about in the mouth, etc., etc.

Now here’s the Baked Beans in a Dutch Oven


2 cups beans

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup molasses

1 cup tomato sauce

1 medium onion sautéed with 1/2 cup salt pork

1 clove garlic, minced

a dash of Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 cup tomato juice

4-6 slices salt pork or bacon

salt and pepper to taste

Beer as needed


To do this in the oven, soak two cups of kidney, navy or pinto beans overnight, add the rest of the ingredients and bake uncovered in a 375F oven for four hours. (The salt pork or bacon should be diced.) Add the beer after the beans have been are in for the first four hours (about one cup), put the cover on and leave for another four hours. Season to taste.


See Ya Next Week!