Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Experimental Baked Beans

I've been wanting to make some baked beans since my old friend Ozquilter (rediscovered through facebook!) posted her recipe. And it was so cold and wet on Sunday; it seemed perfect. She has done pretty much what I did: checked what was in the pantry and used that.

In my case, I had no haricot or navy beans, but I did have black eyed beans. And I had ham to use up, so I didn't do the veggie version. It worked very nicely. We had them for a dinner with egg & oven chips, and I had some for lunch on toasted 10-grain sourdough from Suzanne's of Mogo. With a sliced up pork sausage, nom nom. The black-eyed beans have a flavour of their own that strikes me as slightly smoky. It's not just the ham: I tried a couple of beans before adding that. Recipe follows.

Recipe: Baked Black-Eyed Beans, the experiment
1 1/2 cups black-eyed beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes, or 450g cooked tomatoes
375ml cider
1 medium onion, chopped finely
150g ham, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon hot English mustard

* Soak the beans in cold water overnight.
* Drain and discard the water, and cook them on a low simmer in fresh water for 1 hour
* Drain and tip beans into slow cooker.
* Add onion, tomato, cider, ham
* Cook on high for 4 hours
* Add remaining ingredients, mix well, and let cook for another half hour

I have a perfectly good baked bean recipe here already. It's quite similar in flavours, though I have chosen to use tomato paste and add cider this time. The cider idea comes from Elisabeth Ayrton's The Cookery of England, an old favourite book. She also suggests dotting them with 30g of butter before actual slow-baking in the oven. Real baked beans!

The biggest difference is that in my other recipe, the haricot beans went straight into the slow cooker after their soaking. This works fine with very fresh beans from a high turnover Indian grocer, but if they are older, you should probably also pre-cook them. Most of my recipe books say 10-15 minutes pre-cooking for the haricots, and these same books give an hour for the black-eyes. So I went for that long pre-cook. Also these beans are at least a year old, so better safe than sorry.


Ozquilter said...

nom, nom indeed, sounds good, will give this recipe a go, thanks for the mention of my recipe as well :)

infoaddict said...

Must be the time of year. I've been looking at the bags of white beans in my cupboards and trying to learn how to do things with them. (They're used in a rather nice white bean soup, but I over-bought two years ago and now have rather a surplus!!)

Thus far I've made a white bean dip aggregated from various recipes around the place, and white bean fritters from Jill Dupleix's Lighten Up (yes, it's cookbook cooking :) ). The latter were ok but a tad dry and need some re-working before making again.

I'm using Stephanie for instructions on cooking the beans but, like many of her instructions, her timings and quantities seem to be a tad out. Rather than cooking for 1-2 hours, for eg, it's easily 3-4 before they're soft, on my stove. It can make forward-planning a bit difficult ...