Cowboy Food: Boston Baked Beans

“Dirty Food” or American style food is a huge trend right now and I, for one, am totally into it! The problem with this kind of food lies in the name itself. It really is dirty! Usually laden with fat, fried chicken and fatty burgers are the mainstays of this trend. Even seemingly more innocent dishes such as pulled pork or chicken wings can be laden with fat and calories. I wont deny, it all tastes sooooo good. But I feel fat just looking at this kind of food. So the only option for me was to experiment in my Healthy Slice way.

Dungeness Beach

Dungeness Beach: The wild west of Kent!

Baked beans are found in most peoples cupboards these days, and they would hardly be classed as exciting food! The true roots of this ubiquitous dish lie in the hills and plains of America, hence the name cowboy food! they are frugal and tasty. I was at Dungeness point the other day, which is pretty much the wild west of Kent and it inspired me try this dish. Once you make the real thing, its hard to even compare it to the tinned version we eat on toast. In fact they really are a totally different thing! I served these with two low fat sausages each but you could as easily have crusty bread to eat with them. Boston Baked Beans are traditionally associated with molasses which gives it a slightly sweet, tangy flavor and were apparently a staple of the population for many years. Treacle is much easier to find over here and I think it works just as well.

Boston Baked Beans

Warming Boston Baked Beans

Warming Boston Baked Beans

Serves 4,

  • 240g tin beans – Haricot or Cannelini are best for this
  • 100g back bacon, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Treacle
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tin chopped tomato
  • 1 Tspn Cumin
  • 1/2 Tspn smoked paprika
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a saucepan, fry the pieces of bacon until browned. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until softened.
  2. Stir in the tomatos and then add in the treacle, sugar and mustard. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the spices
  3. Add the carrots and beans and cook until the carrots are softened.
  4. Here is the important part. The beans need slow cooking. You can put them in the oven in a casserole at 150 degrees celsius for 1hr 30 or 2hrs. I popped them in my slow cooker overnight on low and the were a lovely texture the next morning.
  5. You can serve these as a side dish, on toast or I had it with two sausages and it was yummy and hearty!

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