“Beans, beans are good for your heart… “
As a kid, if that rhyme wasn’t enough to put me off of baked beans, the taste sure was. I couldn’t understand the love of canned baked beans.
And, I would love to say that I had a magical epiphany and one day I grew to adore baked beans and that we all lived happily ever after with very healthy hearts and digestive systems. But that never happened. I still only tolerate them.
I never truly knew what bean-love was until I moved to the UK. Beans on toast, beans with dinner, beans straight out of the can, beans for breakfast… BREAKFAST!
And, to top it off, the beans are in some strange sauce that is essentially watered down ketchup.
So, seeing as how Ben’s true love is baked beans, and my true love is Ben, I decided to try my hand at making British- style baked beans with a bit of extra flavour.
They turned out very ketchup-y but in a good and flavourful way, not a sickly way. I’m not sure I’ll ever wake up in the morning and be excited about eating beans for breakfast, but at least now I can eat them on toast without complaining.
- 3 TBSP salt
- 500 g dried haricot (or pinto, or navy) beans
- 1 onion, halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 TBSP oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
- 400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
- 4 TBSP tomato ketchup
- 1 TBSP HP sauce
- 300 ml vegetable stock (or water)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 TBSP vegan butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the beans in water with the salt added overnight.
- The next day, rinse beans and place in a large pot of fresh water along with onion halves and bay leaves.
- Bring to the boil then turn down and allow to simmer until beans are tender (could be 1-2 hours depending on the age of your beans)
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium pan over a moderate heat and add the garlic. Fry briefly, stirring, until fragrant, then add the carrot and celery.
- Turn the heat down and cook until well cooked ( about 20-25 minutes).
- Add the tomatoes, ketchup and HP and stir together.
- Season well and simmer for 20-30 minutes, then puree until smooth.
- Add the vegetable stock and beans back with the tomato mixture and simmer for 30-40 minutes until beans are very tender.
- Mix cornstarch in with 2 TBSP of cold water and then mix in to beans to thicken.
- Finish off by stirring in vegan butter until it melts just before serving.
- Season with salt and pepper as needed
I have been trying to convince Jen of the virtues and merits of the baked bean for breakfast since we started dating, with little success. Whenever we have our Saturday morning fry up, they sit at the edge of her plate, untouched, sad and lonely.
I am not sure this would qualify as a proper English Baked Bean because, well how can I put this tactfully, they did not live up to the rhyme at the start of this post. Our sleep was uninterrupted by any nocturnal murmurings. My day was unencumbered by embarrassing moments in lifts. There was no fragrant accompaniment wherever I went.
I am fairly confident however that they will no longer be found on her plate of a morning. Because if these make and appearance and she does not eat them, I certainly will. Move over Mr Heinz, there is a new Baked Bean Daddy in town!