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Greg's baked beans
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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. See below for earlier attempts.

Ingredients

Makes about 2.4 kg, depending on moisture content. Portion size is about 100 g for a normal portion, though I'm currently working on 120 g (20 portions).

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
100 g       smoked ham skin, or 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 115° for 30 minutes. See the discussion for the temperatures.
  4. Add salt and stock powder, mix well. Set the oven to 115° 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.

Serving

Baked beans must originally have been something like a poor man's cassoulet, which is baked. Yes, I bake them in the oven, but with a closed lid, and just to ensure even heating. But after thawing frozen beans, what should I do? For a long time I just heated them. But since getting an “air fryer”, I've tried “baking” them:


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For this I put the portions in a ceramic bowl, add water to make them relatively wet, set the “hair dryer” machine to 230° and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The time doesn't seem to be uniform, possibly dependent on the amount of water.

Discussion

Baking the beans in the oven should have them barely bubbling. In the course of time I have had difficulty keeping this state. after being brought to the boil, so my current (In the past) I started off at 140° and cool to 120° after adding the salt. In December 2020 I tried a uniform 115° the whole time, which seems to have worked, even if it took a while to “boil”.

Prior versions

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


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