Friday, August 22, 2008

Baked Beans

Sunday 17 August 2008

The latest Australian Gourmet Traveller featured the perfect recipe for the Well Seasoned Cook's second helping of My Legume Love Affair: baked beans.

Baked beans are one of those things I won't eat. I can't imagine anything more disgusting than opening a tin of pallid little beans in a sickly tomato sauce, heating it up and slopping it over toast. Andy is only allowed to eat it if I'm not in the house.

However, I do love beans and pulses, and I'm more than happy to eat a lot of them: just not out of a tin.

The recipe in AGT is that of Bradley Main, head chef at the Riverstone Café in Bellingen, NSW. There were more tweeks than usual, so this is my version, with a nod to Bradley.

Quantities are for two people, with left overs for lunch or supper. Make this on a cool day as your oven will be on for a couple of hours!

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Begin by making the sauce. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Finely chop an onion (use the food processor for this), and sweat down with a couple of cloves of garlic. Add a couple of finely chopped carrots and a good chunk of chorizo, also finely chopped. Add a couple of bay leaves and a sprinkling of time, and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Leave to bubble away for a bit. Finish by adding a finely chopped red pepper.

Stunning colours! The beans didn't make quite such a pretty photo ...

Take a tin of butter beans and drain and rinse the beans. Pour them into a cassoulet dish and cover with the tomato sauce mixture. Add some water and give it a good stir. Cover the dish with tin foil, put its lid on and pop in the oven.

Give the beans a stir every now and then and, if necessary, add some extra water. I left the beans to cook for about 2 and a half hours. About half an hour before the end of cooking I added a teaspoon of paprika and just before serving I stirred through about a tablespoon of maple syrup (the original recipe called for 1/4 cup!).

We served on toast, topped with poached eggs.

This was absolutely delicious: the sauce was really well balanced both in terms of weight and flavour. It was naturally sweet from the onions, carrot, pepper and tomatoes. The chorizo and paprika added smokiness, the poached egg and toast contrasting textures, and the beans gave the dish weight and something to carry all the other flavours. It was brilliant for lunch the next day too - my work mates all commented on how great it smelt and were amazed that baked beans could smell so good and that I'd bothered to make my own.

Seriously - why would you eat them out of a tin?!

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Blogger Susan said...

Love the use of butter beans, Alex.

Thank you for sharing this hearty and flavorful recipe for MLLA2.

3:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because they are quick, cheap and reasonably healthy. They leave me time to write....
Pinot noir generally partners well but it is essential to keep heating the beans and stirring until the sauce has dried to a sticky consistency and then serve on hot toast, buttered, with an optional slice of ham.
Oh, and they must be Heinz!

11:08 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Butter beans did work well, but I'm sure haricot or cannellini would have been delicious too!

OK Alastair - I'll give the tinned variety the upper hand as far as quick goes ... But you can always do the writing while the beans are in the oven ...

6:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the tomato sauce that cings to tinned beans is thin and pallid.

These look fantastic - you're right about those colours. Lovely stuff.

10:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry...'clings' not 'cings'...sometimes my fingers fail me!

10:19 pm  

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