Saturday, August 28, 2010

Homemade Baked Beans

I've had dried beans from last summer sitting around the kitchen ever since. They were a mix of brown epicure runner beans, white bush beans and black and pink scarlet runner beans. I had initially planned to use them for next summer's crop, but was concerned about whether the bush and runner beans had cross-pollinated, meaning that I might get bushes where I wanted vines and vice versa. Besides, I still have plenty of the original seeds left, so I decided the dried bean harvest could be considered edible, supplemented by some less-local ones.
Baked beans were my recipe of choice. If you cringe at that thought, wait a minute: homemade baked beans are on a planet far removed from Mr Heinz (and friends') best tinned beans. The best recipe I've found so far is adapted from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion.

Baked Beans
375g dried
beans, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, diced
50g ham hock meat (I had some in the freezer) or 2 rashers thick, streaky bacon (or pancetta), chopped
3 red or green capsicums, chopped
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tsp dried mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons maple syrup, treacle, golden syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

Rinse soaked beans, then put into saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then strain & rinse with cold water.

Heat oil in a large casserole and saute onion, garlic, carrot and meat.

After 5 minutes, when onion has softened and meat is sizzling, add capsicums. Add tomatoes to casserole with beans remaining ingredients, except maple syrup. Mix well. Add sufficient cold water to cover beans by 4 cm. Transfer casserole, tightly sealed, into oven and bake for at least 4 hours. Stir well after 2 hours, checking that it is still reasonably sloppy ( if too dry, add a little water and reduce oven temp). After 4 hours, stir in maple syrup, extra salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. The beans should now be in a rich sauce. If too thick, add a little water; if too runny and the beans are tender, increase oven temp and continue to cook.

Delicious served with toast and cheese on a cold night.

1 comment:

Maxabella said...

My dad always made a version of these and called them 'campfire beans'. They were absolutely delicious. We forget sometimes how healthy baked beans actually are... home made, that is! Or maybe salt-reduced in a can. I don't know. I just know I love them!! x

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