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2 posts tagged beans

Beef ribs, about to come off the barbecue Guacamole deviled eggs Barbecue beans Light brioche burger buns The plate Grilled marinated pineapple with airy pound cake

Pics from the barbecue that Danielle and I put on yesterday. There’s more on flickr.

We made:

This was a lot of work — we both pretty much cooked all day from 9am until our guests arrived at 7pm. The ribs took four hours on the barbecue at a steady 110 deg C, which is my first experience of running a charcoal grill for that long. I basically did as I was told and it worked very well indeed. My confidence is growing. My next step might be a pork shoulder (eight hour or so cook time…)

Not everything was perfect. There was a partial consensus around the table that the beef rub is too peppery, so I’ll tone that down next time. I also hit a stall with the meat — I couldn’t get the internal temperature up above 74 deg C, when ideally I would have been aiming for 82 deg C. So some of the collagen wasn’t entirely rendered out. The beans were a little bit tough, despite a near-two-hour cooking time that should have been ample for tinned beans. And the barbecue didn’t have enough heat left after we’d finished the main course to put good sear marks on the pineapple. The deviled eggs, however, genuinely were perfect (and oh-so-pretty).

Still, these are nitpicks compared to what could have gone wrong. Overall, I feel like yesterday was one of the most technically challenging meals we’ve attempted, and I’m overjoyed with how it came out.

Baked Beans

Growing up as a child, I really didn’t ever like tinned baked beans. Given that they are trundled out all the time as a staple part of children’s meals, this was something of a nuisance, but I never could understand how people could enjoy that over-sweet, anaemic sauce that served no real purpose except for making the rest of the food on the plate soggy and equally unpleasant. As a result, baked beans and I drifted apart, and once I left home and started cooking for myself, they pretty much left my life forever.

Fifteen years later, I found myself using a lot of beans while cooking, particularly in casseroles, and they’ve fast become a staple ingredient. As a result, my mind turned back to baked beans, and I was determined to produce something that was conceptually recognisable as baked beans, but as far taste wise from that weak unpleasant mush as possible. After some experimentation, this is what I came up with. It’s the same basic idea, beans cooked in a tomato sauce, but I’ve turned that sauce up as much as possible to make it a smoky, tangy, barbecue concoction with some punchy heat in the background.

The smell of these cooking is intoxicating, a real smoky, heady mix that if I could, I would bottle and use as aftershave.

Barbecue baked beans - serves 2 as a side

Beans

200g smoked bacon lardons
400g tinned cannelini beans
500ml chicken stock
3 regular shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tbsp capers, finely diced
1 anchovy fillet, finely diced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tbsp english mustard
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp worcester sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup

Preheat oven to 160C/320F

Fry off the lardons over a medium heat in a saucepan with a small drop of oil until they start to colour and any water in the meat has been released and boiled off. You can use cubed pancetta for this if you want, but I prefer the more chunky lardons because they retain some texture in the final dish. Add in the diced shallots, garlic, capers, and anchovy, and fry for about 2 minutes, keeping it moving to prevent sticking and burning. Add in the paprika, mustard, worcester sauce, ketchup and tomato puree, and stir to coat well - you’ll have a pretty thick paste with chunks of bacon in that smells incredible.

Drain the can of beans and tip them into the saucepan, then add in the stock and bring to a boil. Keep at a low boil for 10-12 minutes, then spoon the beans into ovenproof individual serving dishes, adding just about enough of the sauce to cover. Transfer to the oven and cook for around 25 minutes, depending on how thickened you like the sauce, and serve straight from the oven.

The recipe I’ve given above is heavy on the spices and flavourings, because that’s what I wanted. You can feel free to experiment with the levels of spicing to get the result you prefer, of course, as with any dish.