Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

This recipe is a good fit for a rainy, homebound day; it takes a long time, but is very worth it. If it needs more selling, the large periods of inactive cooking time make it  the perfect choice if you (like me) are also juggling the demands of a 3 year old underfoot.

My husband and I were raised on Heinz baked beans. For those of you not from the UK, baked beans were most mothers "go to" side dish on a busy night and they were always the pairing with sausages. I think nowadays I'd find them too sweet, nevertheless, recently I have been thinking about them a lot.

So browsing through Mark Bittmans's Food Matters Cookbook, I was drawn to the Boston Baked Beans. American baked beans are a different breed, but I thought I'd give them a go. I mean they start with bacon; whats not to love? The verdict; my husband and I loved them. The girls were indifferent which blew me away, given my fond childhood food memories. I may have caught them on a contrary night; it wouldn't be the first! I'll keep you posted when the saved leftovers come out of the freezer for attempt #2

In the meantime, try them out for yourself (when you have a day at home...).

Baked Beans
adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe


8 oz bacon, cubed or thinly sliced
2 onions, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 lb dried white beans (confession; I used dried kidney as I was all out of white), rinsed
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F
  2. Using a large oven proof casserole (I used a cast iron dutch oven) cook the bacon over a medium heat until crispy and the fat is rendered.
  3. Remove the bacon from the pot and pour off most of the bacon fat, leaving approx 1 tablespoon 
  4. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and the onions.
  5. Cook the onions until soft and browned (approx 15-20 mins)
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes
  7. Add the cooked bacon, molasses and mustard
  8. Then add the beans and enough water to cover everything by 2 "
  9. Bring to the boil and scrape up all the tasty bits on the bottom of the pot while stirring
  10. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.
  11. Bake for 1 hour then stir and check the liquid level. It should not fall below 1 1/2 ". Add more water if necessary.
  12. Cover and bake for another hour, then check again. By this point the beans should be getting softer.
  13. Keep checking every 30 minutes and when the beans are tender, remove the lid, increase the oven temp to 400°F.
  14. Continue baking until the liquid reduces to the correct consistency (mine took over an hour to do this, Mr. Bittman suggests anywhere between 15 mins and an hour)
  15. Serve and then freeze the leftovers


  1. yum, thank you much for sharing! :)

  2. You're very welcome. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Interesting you may find baked beans "too sweet" as I thought the general consensus is they are too salty these days. It could depend on the brand. I love 'em and will happily open a tin, grab a spoon then sit down in front of the tele and wolf them down.

  4. I think I need to grab a can from the import isle and try them out again!