This Newfoundland Boiled Beans recipe is simple, rustic and oh-so-satisfying. With just some basic ingredients and a little time, you could be enjoying this for dinner tonight. Delicious with a hunk of crusty, buttery bread.
Hey guys! Today I’m sharing another traditional Newfoundland recipe – boiled beans. This is my father’s recipe and I’m sure there are other variations, but I wanted to share how he does it (which I think is pretty darn tasty).
When I asked my dad how he makes his boiled bean recipe I asked a lot of questions about what goes in it, how much of each ingredient and the process. It was funny because, like most traditional recipes, they are made from the heart and not always written down (as in the case of my dad’s boiled beans).
When I asked about consistency and such, he said ‘I don’t know, I just look at it. If it’s too liquidy, I remove the cover to reduce some of the liquid; if it’s too thick, I add more water.’ Simple as that.
Anywho, after I prepared his recipe, I brought dad and mom some to enjoy for lunch. They loved it so I guess I made dad proud with this one!
It’s nice to hold onto tradition and recipes that mean a lot to you or where you’ve come from. Because of that, I’ve been trying to share more of those recipes with you guys. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
What are Newfoundland Boiled Beans? What Ingredients Goes In Boiled Beans?
Newfoundland boiled beans is exactly that, boiled beans. I know what you’re probably thinking…exciting!
Ok…definitely not, but what this recipe lacks in title, it makes up for in flavour.
Though there’s a broth, this is not a soup. It’s just well cooked beans infused with a tasty liquid. As the beans and ham cook at the same time, the flavours of the ham seep into the beans and liquid base making everything quite relishing.
As you can probably tell, the recipe itself is super rustic. There’s nothing fancy here at all, but it tastes so good! For this boiled bean recipe, you’re going to need –
- Broth and/or water (some people use all water, but I like to use a little stock too for extra flavour)
- Dried beans that have been soaked overnight
- Ham or salt beef (sometimes dad uses leftover cooked pork instead)
- Veggies, like onion, turnip (rutabaga), carrot and celery (less traditional, but delicious)L
- Lots of black pepper
- Molasses for a little sweetness (optional)
What Type of Bean Do I Use?
Use dried navy beans that have been picked over (i.e. remove any foreign objects like rocks or imperfect beans) and rinsed. I don’t recommend canned beans here because they won’t withstand the cooking time.
Do I Have to Soak Beans Before Cooking?
Yes! Soak beans overnight in a bowl of cold water. Ensure that the beans are well submerged because they will expand as they soak.
When ready to use, drain, rinse again with fresh, cold water and proceed with the recipe.
How to Make Boiled Beans?
Full details on how to make boiled beans are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics-
Soak those beans overnight in a bowl of cold water so they plump and soften a little.
In a large pot add drained, soaked/rinsed beans, broth, water and one whole onion. Bring to a simmer, reduce to a medium simmer and cover ajar for about an hour.
After an hour or when the beans are almost tender remove whole onion, add veggies, a little more water and half of black pepper. Cook for about 25-30 minutes more.
Once beans and veggies are tender, stir in remaining black pepper and some molasses. Adjust seasoning if you like.
Portion and enjoy!
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Tips for Making this Boiled Beans Recipe
Don’t forget to soak your beans overnight! It makes the cooking process that much quicker!
I used two onions here…one at the beginning and one at the end. The first one I discarded after about an hour (well, by discarded, I mean ate). If you like, you could leave in for the full cooking time.
Have a leftover ham bone? Throw that in the mix when you start. It will further infuse the broth.
The brand or variety of ham you use may vary in salt content. If you need additional salt here, just add to your taste.
I like to leave the ham and veggies in larger chunks because this is such a rustic, hearty recipe. If you want to cut smaller, that’s a-ok too.
Dad adds a touch molasses at the end to infuse a little sweetness. This is optional, but I do think it adds something special to the recipe.
During the whole cooking time there was a medium-ish simmer. If you have less of a simmer, for example, you may have to cook a little longer.
Can I Freeze this Boiled Bean Recipe?
Yes! This version doesn’t have potato and freezes super well! Portion any cooled leftovers into vacuum seal bags, seal and lay flat to freeze OR store in freezer safe containers. Thaw and reheat when ready to enjoy!
Variations for This Newfoundland Boiled Bean Recipe
Salt beef is more traditional for this boiled bean recipe. My father prefers ham because it’s less salty than salt beef. Plus, salt beef is pretty difficult to get your hands on outside of Newfoundland.
Note: If you’d rather use salt beef, though, go for it. Use an equivalent amount as the ham; don’t forget to soak your salt beef in cold water for a day or two, changing the water once or twice to get rid of excess salt before using in this recipe. Trim any excess fat too.
For extra oomph, throw in a couple of bay leaves (discard when beans are cooked) and some herbage, like rosemary and thyme.
Love this Boiled Bean and Ham Recipe? You May Enjoy These Too
- Newfoundland Cod au Gratin
- Newfoundland Salt Cod Fish Cakes
- Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham
- Homemade Baked Beans with Bacon
I suggest have a nice warm roll or hunk of bread with this ham and bean recipe. This Instant Pot dinner roll recipe (from Imagelicious) would pair beautifully.
Hope you love this traditional Newfoundland boiled beans recipe.
Until next time, take care and chit chat again soon,
Make this old fashioned boiled beans recipe? That’s awesome! Love it if you left a comment below. Many thanks!
Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad’s Recipe)
- 2 cups dried navy beans (picked over, soaked in water overnight. Then, rinsed and drained)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or water or chicken broth)
- 4 to 5 cups water (or more depending on desired consistency)
- 1 pound smoked ham , cut into cubes (about 3 cups)
- 2 onions , divided (one left whole and one chopped (about 1 cup))
- 2 to 3 stalks celery , chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 to 3 carrots , peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 small turnip , peeled and chopped into cubes (about 2.5 cups)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper , divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional (or to taste))
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon molasses
- Soak (picked and rinsed over) navy beans overnight in a bowl of cold water. You can keep them in the fridge. Ensure they are completely immersed in the water.
- The day you are ready to make the boiled beans, remove beans from water. I like to give them another rinse with fresh, cold water.
- Add to dutch oven on the stove top on medium low heat with 4 cups of broth, 3 cups of water, ham and one whole onion. Bring to simmer, reduce heat to a medium simmer and cover ajar for about 60 to 75 minutes or until beans have mostly softened (they were done to my likeness at 60 minutes). Remove whole onion.
- After beans have mostly softened, add remaining chopped onion, celery, carrot, turnip and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. At this point you can sprinkle the vegetables with a pinch or so of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon if you like).
- Add another 1 to 2 cups of water. Bring up to a simmer again (the temperature will drop when you add water) and cook another 25 to 30 minutes.
- Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of molasses for a little sweetness (or to taste). If you want a looser consistency, add more broth or water. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Portion and enjoy!