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Work in progress

Baked beans are, of course, a British staple, and they always come from cans. Some can taste acceptable, but they're a far cry from haute cuisine. At the other end of the scale are peasant dishes like cassoulet, which are also sort of the same thing.

This dish here is one I'm working on as an accompaniment for bacon and eggs, and thus closer in intention to the tinned British food. It's my intention for it to taste much better.

There are a number of recipes on the web. I took a look at them and marvelled, in particular the amount of simple sugars that go into most of them. But they did give me some ideas. This version is the latest, based on my attempts on 7 September 2017. See below for earlier attempts.

Ingredients

Makes about 3 kg, depending on moisture content. Portion size is about 100 g for a normal portion, though I prefer about 160 g.

quantity       ingredient       step
750 g       dried white beans       1
400 g       onion       2
75 g       oil for frying       2
480 g       tinned tomatoes (800 g can)       3
25 g       tomato purée       3
      smoked ham skin to taste       3
up to 500 ml       water (to cover)       3
20 g       Knorr “Chicken Booster” (20% “sodium”)       4
32 g       salt (40 g total)       4

Preparation

  1. Soften the beans by soaking overnight, or by boiling in water and leaving to soak for 2 hours.
  2. Purée the onions. Fry in oil until dry but not brown.,
  3. Transfer to a cooking pot, add all the remaining ingredients, except the salt, bring to the boil and bake in oven at 140° for 30 minutes. See the discussion for the temperatures.
  4. Add salt and stock powder, mix well. Set the oven to 120° and continue to bake until cooked, about 4 hours. Again, see the discussion for the temperatures.
    For cassoulet the same beans only take an hour. But that's boiling, and here they're baked. On 21 June 2018 I baked for 2 hours, and it was barely enough. Maybe 3 hours would do next time.

Discussion

Baking the beans in the oven should have them barely bubbling. In the course of time I have had difficulty keeping this state. On some occasions 120° does the trick, on others 140° is still too cool. My guess is that it takes a while for the pot to warm up completely, even after being brought to the boil, so my current (October 2020) strategy is to start off at 140° and cool to 120° after adding the salt. This may change.

Prior versions

This recipe is the latest in a series of attempts. Previous recipes at:


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