Better Baked Beans

“It has to be Heinz” – no, that sh*t’s got so much sugar and preservatives in it, make your baked beans at home.  I do not understand this British loyalty to Heinz baked beans.  Taste wise it’s pretty one dimensional, it is sweet and bland and it should not define how baked beans – an iconic British staple – taste.

Doesn’t this look so much more appetizing than that pale orange slimy dollop of beans that’s placed in the midst of a traditional fry-up?

Maybe it is a more sentimental and habitual thing for the British.  Once I was going to IKEA with my Scandinavian boyfriend and he asked if we could have dinner there.  I grimaced. He then began reminiscing the times he went as a child with his parents and how they shopped and ate together and I just shot him down cold with a no.  I did not acknowledge the sentimental value at the time as I was too much of a food snob to have my dinner at IKEA.  Looking back that was a bit harsh, I know.  And I haven’t had dinner at IKEA in years so maybe the meatballs recipe has improved substantially. The thing is, the same would be applied now if I was going out for breakfast with a Briton, I’d like my beans homemade.  Look at this, look at the ingredients, maybe the only thing is I’d go for smaller beans next time, or even better, do the beans from scratch.  People don’t seem to have time for non-tinned beans nowadays, at least I don’t.

Recipe adapted from Jamie’s Comfort Food
Serves 4
2 400g-can butter beans, drained
1 large shallot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Worcestershire sauce
1 400g tin tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp tomato puree

Preheat the oven to 160C.

In an oven-proof pan, add some olive oil and over low heat, gently sweat the shallots until softened.

Turn the heat up to medium and add the garlic.  Fry for a minute and add the tomato puree and stir and cook for another minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar and allow that to reduce a bit to take the sharpness out of it – just a few minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes and butter beans.  Crush the tomatoes with your spatula/wooden spoon.  Add a pinch of sugar, Worstershire sauce, paprika and some tabasco.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Season.

Scrunch up a piece of greaseproof paper, pop that on top of the pan and put it in the oven.  Let cook for about 1 hour until thick and sticky.

Serve on top of toasted bread, scatter on some grated parmigiano and drizzle on some olive oil.

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