Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Boston baked beans

350 g dried navy/haricot beans
olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 green capsicum, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
0.25 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup tomato passata (or crushed tomatoes will do)
1 tablepsoon molasses or treacle
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 bay leaf
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the beans well, removing any pebbles or other debris. Place them in a large bowl and cover with plenty of water. Leave them to soak overnight or at least 8 hours.

Drain the beans, then put in a large saucepan and cover well with fresh water. Bring to a boil, boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, until just tender. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frypan. Add the onions, capsicum, celery and garlic and fry for several minutes, until they are becoming golden and soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 160C. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the reserved cooking water, the maple syrup, tomato passata, molasses, vinegar, mustard, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and whisk together. Mix together the drained beans, the onion mixture and the tomato mixture. Pour into a large casserole dish (preferably with a lid) and cover tightly. Bake for 2.5 to 3.5 hours. Check once or twice during cooking to make sure enough liquid remains (do this more frequently if the lid is not tight). If necessary, add a little more of the cooking liquid and stir through. Taste the beans for seasoning and softness, and serve warm when ready.

25 November 2003

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