A little while ago, Kelly made some baked beans for our breakfast because we’d run out of the canned stuff. After a few bites she proclaimed “I’m never having canned baked beans again”.
And we never have. The reason is simple: homemade baked beans are exceptionally easy to make. You need not be a chef, nor even a home cooking enthusiast to make a decent bowl of beans. Kelly made her recipe up on the fly, and they were delicious. Each time we have beans the recipe is adapted to what we have in the kitchen. There are a few ingredients you need, but anything else can be added to suit taste or the contents of your pantry.
- Tin of Cannellini beans, or great northern beans. These are already soaked and ready to eat which is handy. You could probably use three bean mix too, although I’ve never tried it
- Tin of crushed or chopped tomatoes, or passata
- A large onion
This is what I like to add if I have it:
- Red capsicum (for colour, flavour, and sweetness)
- Salt and pepper
- Paprika powder
- A little bit of some sweetener e.g. maple syrup, plum jam, brown sugar
- Some chopped tomatoes can be good if you don’t have a can of crushed stuff
Fry, mix, serve
- Finely chop your onions and capsicum (and chop your tomatoes if you’re rolling like that), and drain your beans
- Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan (or read the comments for an alternative)
- Brown your onions in the pan, stirring regularly so they don’t burn
- When the onions are soft and translucent, add your capsicum. Stir for a couple minutes
- Add the crushed tomatoes or passata, or chopped tomatoes (if you’re rolling that way)
- Add a pinch of salt (or to taste), some pepper, some paprika, etc.
- Add and mix in your sweetener (to taste). The sweetener gives the dish some ‘body’, and rounds out the acidity of the tomatoes (I don’t know if that’s actually true, but it feels that way to me).
- Finally add the beans and stir though. Leave this to simmer on a low-ish heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the bottom stuff burning
- Serve on buttered toast
The great thing about homemade baked beans other than you’re making something is you’re making something with a lot less salt than the canned stuff; even the low-salt canned stuff. And because you’re making it in stages, you can add anything you want to alter the flavour to suit your tastes.
Opening and heating a can of baked beans is quicker and more convenient, but spending the extra 20 minutes making your own is worth it.