killer home baked beans in 2 easy steps

Have you ever gone out for breakfast and been blown away with just how amazing baked beans can be?

If you live in Sydney, the Bather’s Pavillion in Balmoral serves such beans. Even though it has been a few years since I last ate there, I still think of those beans. Every now and then I get foolishly inspired to make my own.

Images of the hassle involved in my last bean baking expedition creep into my mind.

Does any of this sound familiar?

i. Soak the beans for 6-8 hours or overnight.
ii. Simmer beans in boiling water for 1-2 hours.
iii. Drain and reserve cooking liquid
iv. Place beans in a casserole dish with other ingredients
v. Bake beans for 2 hours

Way too hard.

Recently, I was talking to a colleague about baked beans (as you do). He mentioned that he loves to pop his beans in the oven before going to bed. The beans gently cook while you dream and you wake to a house brimming with the most delicious aroma. An aroma that will lure you out of bed, even if it is a Sunday.

Sounded like something worth the effort.

Then I decided to take it one step further. The main reason recipes call for soaked beans is that it reduces the time it takes them to cook. It also helps them cook more evenly and avoids splitting.

But if the cooking process was going to be long and slow anyway, why not just skip the soaking and the simmering and cut it all down to two easy steps?

The results –¬†seriously amazing tasting beans with minimum effort.¬†You have to be happy with that.

killer home baked beans
serves 6

These beans are the business and so so easy. The only thing is that you need to do a bit of planning in advance. At first I was a little worried about not sweating the onions first but trust me, this long slow cooking method gives them plenty of time to melt into the sauce.

If you want to make a vegetarian version just ditch the ham hock and if you have any, add a tablespoon of smoked paprika and a bit more salt to enhance the flavour. Without the meat this would probably only serve 5 hungry vegetarians. (see vegetarian recipe below)

Traditionally baked beans use maple syrup to sweeten. I’ve kept it more basic and used brown sugar but by all means substitute in the more authentic maple syrup if you happen to have it on hand.

500g (1lb) dried beans, cannellini or navy
1 smoked ham hock (approx 1kg or 2lb) or 500g (1lb) piece bacon or pancetta
1 red onion, peeled & diced
2 x 400g (14oz) cans tomatoes, chopped
3T dark brown sugar
3T Worcestershire sauce
1t wholegrain mustard
2 sprigs rosemary
1t sea salt flakes
2 1/2C water

Step 1. Place all ingredients in a large casserole dish and season generously. Stir to combine and cover tightly with a lid or foil.

Step 2. Turn your oven on to 140C (280F) and bake overnight for approximately 7 – 8 hours or until beans are soft and the sauce has thickened. If they look a little dry, add more water. Shred ham hock meat and discard the skin and bone or slice pancetta. Enjoy.

Note: If you do forget to put your beans in the oven the night before, all is not lost. Use the fast track cooking method and bake at 180C (350F) for 2 1/2 – 3 hours instead. You may have a few split beans but they’ll still be absolutely delicious.

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all day breakfast

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killer vegetarian home baked beans
serves 6

500g (1lb) dried beans, cannellini or navy
2 red onions, peeled & diced
4 sticks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 x 400g (14oz) cans tomatoes, chopped
2T dark brown sugar
1T soy sauce
1t wholegrain mustard
1T smoky paprika
2 sprigs rosemary
1t sea salt flakes
2 1/2C water

Step 1. Place all ingredients in a large casserole dish and season generously. Stir to combine and cover tightly with a lid or foil.

Step 2. Turn your oven on to 140C (280F) and bake overnight for approximately 7 – 8 hours or until beans are soft and the sauce has thickened. If they look a little dry, add more water and stir well.

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