I’m not not a fan of baked beans, but I’d never think “ooh I must have some baked beans”. They feature very little in my life other than when my partner decides to have some on toast, from a tin, for lunch, when there is very little else to eat. Then, they are a Godsend.
So the idea of making them only really came to me because I was seduced by a photo of them in the recipe book that came with my Sage Fast Slo Pro (and this is the recipe below, with some adaptions). I am quite shallow.
Sourcing “dried small white beans’ which the recipe called for (I went for cannellini but you can also choose haricot) was really not easy, they were nowhere to be found locally to me (I live in the countryside) so in the end I had to resort to the evils of Amazon. But you will be able to find them in the supermarket, it’s just that mine didn’t sell them…
These are really easy, but bear in mind you will need to reduce the sauce at the end. If you have a pressure/slow cooker that allows you to do this, all you really need to do is stir occasionally – it took about 20 mins on medium heat.
Making things that are easily bought is often a double edged sword and the shop bought can easily out trump the home made. Hummus, for me, comes into this category. I have only once tasted home made that was better than shop bought (that was my friend Sarah who made it whilst we were staying at Sackville House together).
I made these because, seduced by the aforementioned picture, I had bought some dried cannellini beans some weeks before and forgotten about them. Then, when we found ourselves without “a hot meal” as my partner put it one Saturday lunchtime, I looked in the store cupboard and found we had all the ingredients (the original recipe calls for bacon, I have omitted it). It’s super easy to make, I don’t know how you end up with a smokey barbecue flavour, but you do. They are delicious, nutritious and it makes LOADS. We had enough for beans on toast for about ten people. They properly fill you up – which is rare for me. Six hours after eating, I still wasn’t hungry.
My children don’t like baked beans, so I can’t tell you that children will love it as I don’t know – mine certainly ate more than shop bought beans, but only marginally so. My partner who is a life-long baked bean fan, said they were fantastic and gave me a round of applause.
This is what you need
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
500g small white beans, rinsed and picked over (I’m not sure what for, mine were all fine).
1 litre of water
125ml strong black coffee (I used a big tablespoon of instant espresso powder which I keep for making coffee cakes, dissolved in 125ml of hot water)
110g dark brown sugar (I’m sure you could alter this to use less but this is what the original calls for, I’m sure it still works out at having a lower sugar content than shop bought)
1 tablespoon of English mustard
1 tablespoon of black treacle
half a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1 and a half teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of white or cider vinegar (for the very end)
What you do
If you have a pressure/slow cooker which allows you to saute, put this function on, heat up the oil then add the onion and cook until soft – about five mins. If yours doesn’t have this function do this bit on the stove top in a frying pan/saucepan.
When soft, add the garlic and cook for a minute.
Now, either add the rest of the ingredients, minus the vinegar to the pot of your pressure/slow cooker, or now tip the onions/garlic into your pressure/slow cooker and then add the rest of the ingredients (minus the vinegar).
Select pressure cook 80kPa, natural steam release and cook for 35-40 mins or select slow cooker mode for 10-12 hours on low.
When time is up, add the vinegar and you need to reduce the sauce right down until it’s syrupy – either in the pressure/slow cooker if you have a reduce function or decant into a large sauce pan and do it the traditional way. Mine took 20 mins.
Update January 2021. I have since made these with a squirt of Liquid Smoke from Sous Chef which was amazing. I’ve upped the time to 35-40 mins as I really don’t think 30-35 was enough time!