….it’s a legitimate dinner.
I’ve read in a few places recently that the rest of the world think that the great British dish of beans on toast is a bit odd. This is bull shit. Beans on toast is one of the greatest meals of all time.
It serves as breakfast, lunch and dinner. It can even be a light snack for those of us with a heartier appetite. You can have it just as it is; piping hot beans and toast slathered in butter and gooey from the bean juice. Or you can pimp them up with melted cheese, fried eggs, hot sauce, sausages….
The only problem with beans on toast is….the beans. Tinned baked beans are fine if you’re heading out camping in the arse end of nowhere, or you’re stock piling for the end of the world as we know it. But if you have the time and the facilities, I urge you to make your own.
Traditional baked beans are a lengthy process. They are a 10 hour labour of love, not including soaking time for the dried pulses. It’s 100% worth doing if you want to spend a day lovingly babysitting a crock pot of delicious, sweet beans. Look up a recipe for Boston Baked Beans and go buy some molasses.
If you are a normal person with a full time job and an actual life outside of the kitchen, I suspect you won’t be doing this any time soon. So here is my recipe for quick beans:
- 250g smoky bacon lardons
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 cans of Haricot or Cannelini Beans
- 1 500g carton of Passatta
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Dry roast the cumin and mustard seeds, grind finely and add to the paprika. Set aside.
- Heat a large, heavy saucepan. Add a drop of oil, then add the bacon. Fry until crisp.
- Add the celery and onion to the bacon. Cook on a medium heat, stirring gently until the onions are translucent.
- Put all the spices in the pan, stir well, then add the drained beans and the passatta.
- Re-fill the passatta carton with water, swirl it around and add to the pan.
- Throw in a pinch of salt and the sugar and mix the whole lot well.
- Bring the beans to a steady boil, reduce to a simmer and put the lid on.
- Leave the beans to simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. You will need to give them a gentle stir every now and then. Top up the water if it starts to look a little dry.
- The beans are done when the sauce has reduced and the beans are beginning to break down. Season to taste.
- Serve with freshly toasted sourdough and plenty of butter.
- If you are making these beans to eat at a later date, cool as quickly as you can, place in an air tight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Ensure they are piping hot when you reheat them.
- If you are vegetarian or vegan, simply skip the bacon. These beans are packed full of protein as they are so it doesn’t really bring much to the party, I just really like bacon.
- If you can get it, I recommend adding a dash of liquid smoke just before you serve this.
Fussiness Factor: Lola really like the sweetness of these beans. The onion and celery break down into the sauce and become invisible. If your fussy kids like this, it’s a good thing to have in the fridge to add vegetables and vitamins to whatever beige food they have requested for dinner.