Fèves au Lard

A bowl of fèves au lard

Fèves au lard, also called bines or haricots au lard, is a traditional Québécois dish. It is usually beans mixed with pieces of bacon and either molasses or maple syrup that is then slow cooked in the oven. Sometimes other ingredients are added. Fèves au lard are usually served as a side during breakfast, but they can also be served as a side during lunch or supper and they can be served as a meal. Fèves au lard is a traditional dish presented at sugar shacks during le temps des sucres in Québec and other French-speaking regions of Canada.


Yes, this is in fact another baked beans recipe. This is the French Canadian version of the dish, although it really isn’t that different from the Boston or New England versions of the dish. I’d say the fact that I used both maple syrup AND molasses is about the only real difference. There’s not really anything going on with the flavor to differentiate them from their American cousins, which is unsurprising, given that Boston baked beans are thought to be the direct inspiration for this dish, due to cultural exchanges during the 19th century.

No, the real awesome factor with this recipe is that I’ve finally nailed the cooking process. There are no crunchy beans, but they aren’t cooked to mush either. I didn’t over bake them and reduce the sauce to a sticky, almost burnt, mess. I’d go so far as to say this has been my most successful baked bean recipe yet, from a technical standpoint. I think the key was making sure I checked them every hour and added more water. Not only does that (obviously) keep the sauce from reducing too far, but I suspect it interrupted whatever the reaction is between beans and molasses that keeps the beans from getting soft.

Although Wikipedia says this is made with bacon, the recipes I looked at all called for either salt pork or pork belly ham (which I suppose is basically smoked bacon?) At least one of the salt pork versions specified to use the salt pork “without the lean streak”. Here in the upper midwest there isn’t much choice when it comes to salt pork; I used the Hormel salt pork that is the only variety I’ve ever seen around here, which does have some lean in it.

This is apparently a very popular dish in Quebec, with some restaurants calling themselves “bineries”, because they consider baked beans their specialty. Since they’re commonly sweetened with maple syrup, they are a common dish featured in sugar shacks during maple syrup season in the late winter and early spring. Wikipedia references a claim that the popularity of this dish in the 19th century changed the variety of beans most commonly grown in Quebec (although they don’t cite a source for this claim).

Apparently the French Canadians have taken a page from the British, and this is most commonly served as a breakfast side, although it also gets served at other meals, just like we do in the USA.

Fèves au Lard

Serves: 6
Prep: 15 Minutes
Cook: 5:15
Total: 5:30, plus overnight soaking

1 lb. navy beans
5 cups water 

1 medium onion, diced
7 oz salt pork, cut in 1 inch cubes
5 oz pork belly ham, diced
⅓ cup maple syrup
½ cup molasses
6 Tablespoons ketchup
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
⅔ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon dry mustard
2 ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard 

2 teaspoons cider vinegar
⅔ teaspoon winter savory
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, in the soaking water 
3 Tablespoons brown sugar

Pick over your beans, removing any bad beans or foreign objects. Rinse, drain, and cover with cool water. Leave to soak overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 325 F. 

Drain beans in a colander and rinse well. Put them in a dutch oven with 5 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until beans are beginning to soften. 

Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Return to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 4 hours and 15 minutes. Stir the beans every hour or so, and add additional boiling water as needed to keep the beans submerged. 

Once the beans are soft, remove the lid, turn the oven up to 375 F, and bake for another 35-40 minutes, until the liquid is reduced and the top is browned. 

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