Saturday, 12 May 2012
Boston Baked Beans
I mentioned a little while back that my current housemate is allergic to tomatoes. I still can’t get my head around how anyone can live without this wondrous fruit/vegetable. After a quick audit of the contents of my cupboards and fridge I discovered I had at least 5 varieties of tomato based products (in case you are interested this included fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, tomato puree and tomato ketchup). And that doesn’t even include the things that contain a bit of tomato. It was at this point that I realised that baked beans contain tomatoes. Now I don’t eat loads of baked beans but sometimes the simple meal of beans on toast just can’t be beaten, I think it has to be counted as one of life’s little pleasures (small things and all that). But this got me thinking on how I could create a tomoatoless baked bean recipe that myself and my housemate could both enjoy. After a bit of interweb surfing I discovered that a traditional Boston baked bean recipe is already tomatoless. And so I went about creating a recipe based on this American classic (although I did deviate slightly from the traditional recipe by adding some chorizo that needed to be used up, but I think this helped to enhance the smoky flavour of this campfire classic)!
Also I cooked this recipe in a slow cooker but it could just be cooked in a casserole dish in an oven at a low temperature to achieve the same results.
Serves 4 hungry people
300g dried cannellini beans
150g streaky bacon
½ red onion
35g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon English mustard
2 bay leaves
Soak the beans in water overnight
Chop the bacon and chorizo into small chunks and finely dice the red onion.
Place half of the bacon, chorizo and onion in the bottom of the slow cooker, drain the beans and put these on top of the bacon mixture and then sprinkle the rest of the meat and onion on top.
Mix the molasses, mustard and brown sugar together with 200ml of hot water and stir until the sugar has dissolved and a thick syrupy liquid has formed. Pour this over the bean mix.
Depending on the size of your slow cooker you will probably need to add more water to the mix to ensure the beans are completely covered in liquid, so add more hot water as necessary.
Add the bay leaves and then put the lid on the slow cooker, set to a medium heat and leave to slowly bubble away for the next 8 hours.
After 8 hours give the mixture a good stir. If the sauce seems a little runny at this point remove the lid from the slow cooker and allow the mixture to reduce a little.
Then serve simply on toast or as a jacket potato filling.