Beans doesn't mean Heinz

Beans again, baked, not fried this time.

According to the internet - and let's face it, the internet is never wrong - baked beans originated in Boston as a result of the slave trade. I've also read somewhere that baked beans are the national bean dish in the USA. Big claims for a fairly humble dish.

After a bit of searching the intergoogle, it quickly became apparent to me that recipes for Boston baked beans are completely different to the canned baked beans we get in Australia. For starters, most of the recipes sounded like the end result would be flavoursome, rather than a salty mush in a reddish sauce. In fact, they sounded like something you would eat at home, rather than a dish prepared in a camp fire. Only problem was that just about every recipe I came across included masses of bacon or kaiserflesch. So I did a little experiment, and combined key ingredients from several recipes to make a vegetarian version.

Slow Baked Beans

250g borlotti beans, soaked
1.5 tbspn olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 capsicum, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
420g can diced tomatoes
3 cups water
2 tbspn cumin
1 tbspn smoked paprika
3/4 cup treacle

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Heat oil in a heavy based stockpot or casserole. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add beans, capsicum, carrots, cumin and paprika and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes and water - the water should cover the beans by around 4 cms; add more if necessary. Place casserole in oven, with lid on. Cook for four hours, checking hourly to make sure the mix hasn't dried out. Add more water if the beans look dry. After four hours, add treacle and stir through. The beans will immediately smell as though they are simmering in bbq sauce. Return the casserole to the oven and cook for a further two hours, uncovered, or until the mixture is thick.
Serve with toast for a comfort food lunch or filling breakfast.

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