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Have you ever made your own baked beans?

It’s easy to do and Big Boy absolutely loves them (Small Man still prefers the ones that come out of a tin, but we’re working on him).  They’re also very economical – today’s batch cost us less than $3.

My friends at Paesanella always save their ham bones for me, and they add a delicious flavour to the beans. You could use smoked bacon ribs for this recipe, although the dish will be slightly saltier, so you might need to adjust your seasonings accordingly.

Homemade Baked Beans
(inspired by a recipe in Old Food, by Jill Dupleix)

  • 500g dried beans (I used Great Northern Beans)
  • 1 ham bone
  • 500ml tomato passata (we used Pete’s homemade version)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 500ml  (2 cups) water
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf

1. Soak the beans in plenty of cold water overnight.  The next day, drain well and put them into a large pot with fresh water.  Boil until just tender.  This took about half an hour, but will vary according to the type of beans used.  You could cook these in a pressure cooker, but I’ve never managed to do this successfully – I always end up with mushy beans and lots of foam.

2. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse them under cold water to stop them cooking any further.  Preheat oven to 150C with fan.

3. In a large ovenproof pot (I used a Corningware casserole with lid), place the bone and the drained cooked beans.  Whisk together the passata, sugar, salt, Worchestershire sauce, bay leaf and water.  Taste the sauce, and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Pour over the bone and beans.

4. Bake covered for 1½ – 2 hours, then remove the ham bone and strip any meat off them.  Discarding the bone, add the meat back into the pot (if you wish) and give it a good stir, then put it back in the oven and bake for a further hour or so, uncovered, or until the beans are cooked to your liking.  Add a little more water if the beans get too dry. Taste again for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

We froze our baked beans in small containers, but they will also keep for a few days in the fridge.  The boys had baked beans on sourdough toast for lunch today!

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