2 posts tagged 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
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.