Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Baked Beans

I was looking in the supermarket the other day for baked beans as they make a great lunch for small girl and myself. I noticed that none of the brands avaliable were 100% made in Australia. Most opted for the weaselly 'Made with local and imported ingrediants'.

This seemed a good enough reason to tackle making baked beans myself. I've long wanted to master this slow cooking dish, this is my first go, using a recipe from Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cooks Companion'. The next time I make it I will pre-cook the beans as ours were not edible until after about 8 hours cooking. I understand the acid in the tomatoes can make the skins of the beans tough, maybe I had particularly acidic tomatoes, maybe the beans were a bit old. Who can say. Also I would suggest adding a little less water- after 8 hours cooking we needed to simmer the dish on the stove for 1/2 an hour to reduce the liquid to a thick sauce. Although the recipe says it serves four, we had enough for the three of us, plus two family sized meals to freeze. A bonus as it was delicous.

375g red kidney beans
2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 rashers thickly sliced streaky bacon, diced
2 red peppers, seeded and diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 400g can peeled tomatoes in juice
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 tsp paprika
1/2 crushed coriander seeds
freshly gound black pepper
3 tbs maple syrup, treacle, golden syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Rinse soaked beans, then put into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then strain and rinse with cold water. Heat oil in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole and saute onion, garlic, carrot and bacon. After 5 minutes, when onion has softened and bacon is sizzling, add red and green peppers. Puree tomatoes and juice in a food processor and add to casserole with beans and remaining ingredients, except maple syrup. Mix well. Add sufficient cold water to cover beans by 4 cm. Transfer casserole, tightly sealed, to oven and bake for at least 4 hours. Stir well after 2 hours, checking that it is still reasonably sloppy (if it is too dry, add a little water and reduce oven temperature). After 4 hours, stir in maple syrup, extra salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. The beans should now be in a rich sauce. If too thick, add a little extra water; if too runny and the beans are tender, increase oven temperature and continue to cook.


Anonymous Caroline@Bibliocook said...

I've had this problem with beans - and lentils - too. After boiling them for HOURS I came to the conclusion that I'm going to cook my legumes properly before adding tomatoes to the pot. It's no fun the other way!

Beans aside, I've tagged you for the 23/5 Meme. There's more info here:

12:29 pm  

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