Let me just start by saying this: I absolutely detest baked beans from a tin. I think I might have talked about this a few times before, so apologies for being a stuck record, but I’ll be quick. It’s not a snobbery about tinned food, nor a symptom of being a picky eater (I will eat pretty much anything else, except peanuts as I’m allergic), I just cannot stand them.
Their mere existence makes breakfast a bit of a stressful experience. I am partial to a proper London ‘caff’ now and again. You know the kind: formica tables, the smell of fried bread that permeates through everything and the mugs of tea served with the tea bag still in, floating in the milk on top. The problem is that everything comes with beans, and you therefore find yourself stressing ‘no beans’ so ardently through your order, that you come across as a little obsessive. Despite this, your plate may occasionally appear with beans on, and you can’t just scrape them off as the buggers get everywhere.
A while ago, my husband and I went for breakfast at Roast in Borough Market, where his beans came to the table in a little earthenware pot on the side of his breakfast. It was then that I noticed something unusual; these weren’t the usual lurid orange kind, they were butter beans, cooked in a dark tomato sauce with flecks of onion and pancetta and a few fresh herbs. It was with a little trepidation that I tried them, but they were delicious, and kicked off my love of homemade baked beans.
It seems somewhat contradictory, I know.
Since then, I have developed two baked beans recipes: one that takes no time at all, and one that takes forever. Naturally, I prefer the latter one, but I am often short on time, so make the former more frequently. I use tinned beans and tinned tomatoes and make them on the stovetop. The result is not as luxurious as the slow-cooked kind, but sadly I’m not always organised enough to plan ahead (but I will try soon so as not to deprive you of the recipe.) They still win over any kind of canned variety. Hands down.
Homemade Vegan Baked Beans
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
250g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
400g tin cannellini beans, drained
Heat some oil in a frying pan, or chef’s pan, over a medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and translucent, but not browned, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, 250ml water, the brown sugar and cider vinegar. Add the beans, stir and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 25-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
Based on this recipe. Serves two.