Beans. Healthy, humble and universally consumed. Trendy BBQ side dish, tinned saviour of broke students and people who aren’t good at cooking. But what I thought was purely a breakfast staple, turns out to be an all-day-everyday-whenever-the-hell-you-feel-like-it affair, here in the UK. According to the British Council the UK eat over 90% of the worlds tinned baked beans. Heinz sell an insane 1.5 million tins in the UK per day. Its not that surprising, really, the British pour beans on EVERYTHING. Sausage and chips, sausage and mash, with fish, with potatos. You can even have them at KFC.
And although they might be high in fibre, low GI, cheap, filling and available all year round, the tinned kinds do come with mystery extracts and ‘flavourings’ as well as a load of sugar and sodium. While there are worse things you could be eating 1.5 million tins of, making your own is easy and satisfying and means you can sack-off all the additional crap.
Cook these down slowly and in a couple hours you’ll be rewarded with a bubbly pot of smokey, tomato-y gold you can spoon over anything you like.
2 mugs dried haricot beans, soaked overnight
3 mugs of organic chicken or vegetable stock
1 tin chopped tomatos or 300ml passata
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 med onion, finely diced
1/2 stick celery, grated
1/4 carrot, grated
1 bay leaf
1 knob of butter
2ish tbs of olive oil (a glug)
1 tbs smoked sweet paprika
2 tbs maple syrup or 1 tbs brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Get a pot nice and hot over a medium/high heat.
Throw in a knob of butter and a glug of extra virgin olive oil, and swirl to coat the base. When the butter is foaming, add the garlic and onion and sauté until soft, then add the celery, carrot, bay leaf and thyme and sweat down.
Add the paprika. When the fat has taken on a reddish hue and smells fragrant, add the drained beans and toss to coat.
Now add the stock, the tomatoes, the maple syrup (or sugar), reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer down until the beans are tender but still have a little firmness, you don’t want a bowl of mush (or do you?), especially if you’re planning to reheat leftovers.
Season with salt and lots of pepper and try not to burn the roof of your mouth.