I recently watched the Masterchef master class series on a DVD and saw George make a wonderful homemade baked beans. It looked divine, and I have tried to copy it, with my own twists.
Ingredients – serves four
2 cups dried beans
4 bacon rashers
4 chicken sausages
1 – 2 tins tomatoes (to taste)
1 litre stock
1 litre water
3 sticks celery
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon thyme
4 bay leaves
splash of olive oil
- Soak the beans overnight.
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Cut all the vegetables into bite size pieces.
- In a hot oven proof saute pan, add the oil, garlic and onions. Sauté until transparent before adding all other vegetables and drained beans. Warm through for 2 – 3 minutes before adding the thyme, bay leaves and enough stock to cover the ingredients. Turn heat down to medium and simmer on the stove for 20 minutes.
- Check for water content and add stock / water as needed. At this point, I added the second tin of tomatoes.
- With the lid on, place the pan into the oven. You will need to check on it every 20 minutes religiously, stir through and add water / stock as needed. It will take 4 – 6 hours in the oven.
- Dice the bacon into small pieces and fry in a small frying pan. While cooking, twist each sausage to form three bite size pieces from each sausage. Use scissors to cut and cook gently in the frying pan.
- About half way through the cooking time, place the bacon and sausages into the bean mixture and stir through well. Ensure the bean mixture stays moist at all times, using any left over stock or water as needed.
- Before serving, add a little salt to taste and a splash of vinegar to refresh the dish. Enjoy with toast or as is for a hearty delicious meal!
- I used canellini beans but other recipes I have seen used navy beans. I think you can use any beans you fancy, as long as you soak them well and don’t let them dry out during the cooking process
- This recipe could (and will!!) be adapted to cook in a slow cooker. The trick would be to ensure that it doesn’t get too dry during the cooking process.
- After letting it dry out once (I forgot to set the timer to tell me 20 minutes was up!) and almost ruining 4 hours of work, I ensured it never happened again by setting the alarm each time. I can not stress how important it is to check it every 20 minutes and ensure it stays moist. Its better to be a little too moist than too dry.
- George said it was really important to give it a splash of vinegar before serving, but I must admit that I actually forgot. I can see why it would be good, but make sure you limit it to a splash.
- The chicken sausages could be left out if desired, but I opted to include them instead of the pork sausages suggested in the original recipe.
- Just a FYI, everyone in the family loved this mean, including the fussy teenager. Joe really enjoyed it and wants it to be on regular slow cooker menu cycle through winter.
- Ethical note: I am still having a lot of trouble sourcing free ranged pork. I am using up old freezer stock of bacon, but am very hopeful of finding an ethical alternative in the near future.
- Diabetics Note: My BGLs were fantastic after this meal. I decided to avoid having toast with my dinner to keep my carbohydrates down. I should also point out that although I didn’t add much oil to this dish, there was a fair amount of fat in the sausages. Cooking them in a pan allowed me to drain off any oil that leaked out.