My mum lived in Québec for nearly 15 years before she passed away. Her passion for their culture and food was infectious every time I visited. The one thing I found there that is lacking in Western Canada, is a focus on a hearty breakfast. Yes, the typical bacon/sausage and eggs are present, but it’s the extras on the side that really add to the heartiness. Namely the maple baked beans. Differing from the New England style, which focuses on molasses as the sweet component, Québec style has maple syrup. Both include a smoky pork product as part of the flavour base, whether it be fatback or bacon. I thought about my dad’s Hungarian background and decided to use csabai, a dry cured and smoked Hungarian sausage. Here’s my recipe.
Csabai Maple Baked Beans
4 cups dried white navy beans (I’ve also used pinto beans or black beans as well)
6 cups cold water plus more for soaking
1/2 cup Roasted Tomato Sauce (or any tomato sauce) **Note: If you choose a different smoked sausage that has more moisture, like a farmer’s sausage, kielbasa or garlic sausage, you may need an extra small can of tomato paste, along with the tomato sauce, but with csabai, the tomato paste won’t be necessary)
200g/8oz Budapest Deli csabai (dried smoked Hungarian sausage)
2 August Organics medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 cup amber maple syrup (also referred to as No. 2 grade)
1 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tbsp homemade mustard (or your favourite grainy mustard)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each black pepper and nutmeg
To soak the beans:
In a large pot, cover the beans with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, simmer for five minutes, cover, take off the heat and allow to soak for an hour. Drain and add the soaked beans to a slow cooker. Add the six cups of water, tomato sauce, csabai, onions, maple syrup, paprika, mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set the slow cooker on low and simmer for 10 hours. Makes about 10 cups. Serve as a part of breakfast. I enjoy to have it with a nice homemade biscuit as well, like my recipe for Sausage Biscuits.
2 cups Gold Forest Grains spelt flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped leftover grilled sausage (a good bratwurst, or wild boar sausage. I like to go to a variety of local sources like Sunshine Organic, Meadow Creek Farms, or a number of butchers like Acme Meat Market or Ben’s Meats), finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen butter, shredded coarsely
3/4-7/8 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 200C/425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sausage. Grate in the frozen butter and work it in quickly with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Add 3/4 cup of buttermilk and stir together. If the mixture is still dry add a tablespoon more buttermilk and stir together. Turn the dough on to the counter and knead gently until the soft dough comes together. Press the dough with your fingers until it’s around 1 cm(1/2″) thick. Cut into 10cm/4″ x 10cm/4″ squares and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden on the bottom. Serve as a part of breakfast with Csabai Maple Baked Beans and eggs. Makes 8 biscuits.
Pictured above: Csabai Maple Baked Beans, Sausage Biscuits, and scrambled eggs with cheese.