We all need a little more beans sometimes. These little superfoods have basically everything going for them. Most beans are full of all the good stuff, such as protein, iron, fibre and complex carbs. They’re also cheap and – when cooked with love – downright delicious. All in all, they make me happy.
I’ve been trying to create tasty baked beans for a while. Sadly, they have often turned out a little bland and barely preferable to the canned stuff.
But, this time I think I’ve cracked it. Here is my new favourite baked beans recipe. I predict that this dish is going to see me though many a cold Winter night in the coming few months…and probably a few frosty mornings and lunchtimes too…
600g dried beans (I used kidney and cannellini) (soaked overnight)
3 tbs olive oil
1 large brown onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 chipotle chilli (substitute with normal chilli and smoked paprika)
1-2 carrots, diced
3 sticks celery, diced
2 cans tomatoes (400g each)
1 small red capsicum
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
2 cups stock (I used vegetable)
2 tbs maple syrup/honey/molasses/apple juice concentrate, to taste
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Sourdough bread, toasted
Fresh herbs of your choice
You will need to begin this recipe a day ahead of planned eating time. Soak your chosen beans overnight – for at least 12 hours – in a non-reactive bowl. Rinse the beans a few times (this supposedly reduces the gassy effects of beans – their one negative effect).
Choose a large pot. Heat the olive oil over a low-medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chipotle chilli and sauté for about 5 minutes. (If you can’t find chipotle chilli, you can replace it with normal chilli or chilli flakes, and add some smoked paprika at the end of cooking. Alternatively, if you’re not a chilli person, you can forgo the heat and just add the smoked paprika.) Add the carrots and celery and continue to sauté for about 5 more minutes.
Next, add the soaked beans, tomatoes, capsicum, rosemary, bay leaves and stock. Partly cover and simmer for at least 2 hours, until the sauce is lovely and rich, and the beans are soft. Remember to check and stir occasionally. Add a few tablespoons of maple syrup (or honey, molasses or apple juice concentrate) for sweetness, to taste. Add a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce for sharpness, to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs.
(You could cook this in the oven for more authentic ‘baked’ beans, but I like the control that the stovetop gives me. Simply turn the oven on low, up the cooking time and reduce the liquid a little.)
To serve, toast the sourdough and drizzle it with some olive oil. Crumble feta and some fresh herbs over the top. (Scrambled eggs also go really well with this.) Any extra baked beans can be frozen and eaten later – this is important to add as this recipe is very generous!