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.