Mahogany Beans

Isn’t it weird how people can love a certain food while simultaneously disliking a food directly linked to it? I’ve often wondered about this contradiction in taste, mostly because I’ve fallen prey to a variant of it myself. When I was growing up, my cousins ate ketchup sandwiches. The other children in school often would not eat something unless it had ketchup liberally poured over it. My family ate it on hamburgers and hot dogs. I cannot bring myself to eat it unless it is

a) buried in the middle of barbeque sauce (and I make cherry-based barbeque sauce now so this doesn’t happen much anymore)


b) fried with bologna – a snack I haven’t had since grade school.

I love tomatoes. Ketchup just isn’t my thing. That’s why, until today, I hadn’t tried something that was on my culinary bucket list for ages: mahogany sauce.

Mahogany sauce is a rich crimson in colour because of its two main ingredients: grape jam and ketchup. It makes meat look positively luscious and I was sure that it could take baked beans to whole new heights if only I could get past the ketchup. Then a light bulb appeared: apple butter is a similar texture and it shares the same tangy-sweetness that people love in ketchup. Maybe that will do!

All it takes is:

  • 2 cups dried white beans
  • 2 cups apple butter
  • 1/2 cup grape jam
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 17 g sundried tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 strips of thick-cut bacon, fried and roughly torn (or use 8 strips of thin-sliced bacon)

To start, the beans must be soaked. Measure out two cups of beans.

2 cups dried white beans

Pour the beans into a dutch oven and then fill it half full of water.

quick soak

Cover the dutch oven and bring the beans and water to a rolling boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes and then turn off the heat, letting the beans sit in the tepid water for an hour. When the hour is over, drain the beans and rinse them with cool water. Add them to the slow cooker. Turn to the other vegetables. Peel and dice the onion and garlic.

onion and garlic

Mince the sundried tomatoes.

sundried tom

Add the vegetables to the beans in the slow cooker.

garlic tom on and beans

Time for the sauce – excitement! Open jars of apple butter and grape jam.

Mix them together thoroughly in a bowl.

apple and grape mixed

Add the sauce to the waiting vegetables in the slow cooker and combine them well.

after mix

Tear the bacon into bite-size chunks with your fingers.


Add the bacon to the top of the beans so that its flavour will permeate the entire dish as it cooks.

sprinkled with bacon

Turn the slow cooker to LOW and set a timer for 6 hours.

When the timer goes DING! you will find deep brown beans surrounded by a thick, rich sauce:


I was surprised to find that the beans tasted like neither apples nor grapes! The vegetables melted into the sauce, making a thick, velvety gravy – the only way I can describe it is to say they taste like, “More, please!” They were well worth the wait – what a fantastic change from barbeque beans!

This recipe makes 8 generous servings; each serving has this nutrition:

  • Calories: 406
  • Fat: 5.3 g
  • Carbs: 80.3 g
  • Protein: 12.8 g

2 thoughts on “Mahogany Beans

  1. It’s true isn’t it how we can have such a strong dislike for something , and yet enjoy it in other items. Your beans remind me how much I dislike maple syrup and yet some of the most amazing baked beans I’ve had need that very ingredient in them to give the,mthe amazing flavour I love!


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