Friday, 4 October 2013

Slow Cooked Pork & Beans (Boston Baked Beans)

I had tried Boston Baked Beans once before but when I heard Tim Hayward talking about his favourite DIY Food (the book is on my Christmas wishlist) I felt the urge to try it again.  The lovely ham bone and fat left over from a ham hock a few days before was too good to waste.

I did have to tweet Tim, who very kindly tweeted back a series of tweets with his guide to cooking baked beans, just in case there was a killer recipe out there.  But I ended up basing my recipe on an old WI book, The Home and Country Cookbook, because my poor planning had led me to tweet only 5 minutes before I needed to cook.

The recipe and the guide were pretty much a long the same lines, apart from the suggestion of passata which probably hadn't reached England's shores when the WI recipe was written.  For the complete baked bean look and flavour I would definitely add this or pureed tinned tomatoes next time.  Although, despite it's very wholefood look, my young children did me proud by announcing 'I love this' before they'd even started.

Serves 4

350g haricot or cannellini beans, soaked overnight and boiled for 30 minutes - keep the cooking liquid!
500g tomato passata or liquidise a tin of tomatoes
2 tbsp black treacle
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp English Mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
2 onions, finely chopped
6 whole cloves
5 slices of belly pork, or pork chops, leftover ham, sausages.  Chop into mouth sized cubes.

If using a slow cooker, put all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat to simmering.  I skipped this step and the food in the slow cooker took about an hour to start to cook!  Pour the hot ingredients into the warmed slow cooker on medium/high and top up with enough liquid from cooking the beans to make sure everything is covered by about 1cm of 'sauce'.  Cook on medium high (I cooked mine on High as my slow cooker only has low or high settings) for 6 hours or when the meat has melted into the sauce.

If you don't have slow cooker, pre-heat the oven to 150C, heat all the ingredients up in a heavy ovenproof casserole dish topped up with bean cooking water as above.  Cover tightly with a lid and cook slowly in the oven for 6 hours.

Remove the cloves if you can find them.  Serve with crusty bread, potatoes, mash, pasta whatever.

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