Beans are somewhat overlooked in my opinion! All this talk of superfoods we hear seems to have bypassed the fact that these little pulses are completely brilliant! Full of protein, they are a vegetarian dream and are just as good for us carnivores too.
Dried beans can be incredibly economical and are so versatile. Simply soak your choice of bean overnight, entirely immersed in water and the next day, boil for between 20 and 45 mins, depending on the bean. Then, simply proceed as you would according to any recipe. The one important thing is not to salt the soaking water or the cooking water, which can result in the skin of the bean toughening.
This recipe is perfect for a lazy weekend brunch. I have been know to double the batch and fill my freezer with any leftovers to ensure I can have speedy beans for a midweek supper. The are delicous served topped with a soft egg or strewn onto sourdough toast. The only mandatory element for me is lashings of freshly chopped coriander sprinkled on top.
Proper Baked Beans:
- 40g chorizo, sliced or cut into chunks
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, gently toasted (simply heat in a dry pan for 2-3 mins)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, gently toasted
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp sugar
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 400g tins beans (I use cannellini but you can use any mixture – kidney beans also work well)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat your oven to 180C/360F.
- In a frying pan, fry the chunks of chorizo in the olive oil until crispy and the oil has been released.
- Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and add the celery, onion and garlic to the pan. Sweat and soften over a low to medium heat for 3-5 mins.
- Add the spices to the pan and stir well then add the tomatoes, sugar, 100ml of water and some salt and pepper.
- Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for 10-12 mins, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
- Stir in the beans and then transfer to a baking dish. The dish can be prepared ahead up to this point the night before and simply put in the oven the next morning. It can also be frozen at this stage.
- Place in the oven for 30 mins until the sauce is oozing and beginning to brown on top. If you like, you can sprinkle some cheese on at this point and return to the oven for 5 mins.
- Serve on toast or with an egg and lots of chopped coriander.