Tuesday, August 17, 2010

dinner date - homemade baked beans

I love homemade baked beans; for some reason they are something we have become so accustomed to buying that we forget how easy they are to make at home, and how tasty. Sarah made some the other night for dinner, which we ate with cornbread. I am going through a cornbread phase at the moment, and after trying a few recipes have settled on the one I like best and tweaked it a little. Cornbread is delicious with baked beans, scrambled eggs, tomato based soups, Mexican beans....or just toasted and enjoyed on its own.

The baked bean recipe is pretty loose, I make them a bit differently each time, so this is just the version we ate the other day. If you wanted to include meat in them some smoky bacon or shredded ham hock is perfect added at the start with the vegetables.

The beans in the picture were the leftovers I had for lunch the next day, so they aren't quite as saucy as they were at dinnertime. We ate them with baby spinach leaves and a handful of diced red pepper to add a little crunch. It made a colourful winter meal. The beans freeze well so it's worth making up a big batch and freezing some in single serve portions for homemade convenience food!

baked beans

1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 clove garlic
a little olive oil
1 x 750ml bottle tomato passata
brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika to taste
2-3 tins cannellini beans
Italian parsley, chopped

Blitz the first four ingredients in a food processor or chop really finely. Saute in the oil until soft and slightly coloured. Add the passata and other seasonings to taste and reduce down for about 10 minutes. Add the beans, and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with parsley.

sweet chilli cornbread (adapted from NZ House and Garden)

100g butter, softened
50ml oil
2 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
1 x 400g tin creamed corn
1/2 c corn kernels (optional)
1/4 c sweet chilli sauce
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 c grated cheese
1 c flour
1 c polenta/cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp polenta, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180c. Beat butter, oil and sugar til creamy. Add eggs and mix well, don't worry if the mixture splits. Stir in the creamed and corn kernels, chilli sauce, spring onions
and cheese. Add dry ingredients and mix very lightly just enough to combine, it will be a bit lumpy like a muffin mixture. Tip into a loaf or square baking tin lined with paper. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the extra polenta. Bake 30-40 mins (if you use a loaf tin it takes quite a bit longer, more like an hour) until a skewer comes out clean. Serve warm.


  1. that sounds/looks amazing - a must try! :)

  2. Yummy, never liked tinned Baked Beans (which was a nightmare in the UK, is there anything they wont put beans on, arrgggh!) but I imagine these dont have that sickly sweetness, my husband wants to try cooking more, I think this could be one for him to give a go!

  3. As a Brit/Kiwi/now American, I find Plum's comment to be quite hilarious. I grew up thinking baked beans was a food group of its own. It took a while for us to get used to the taste of Watties Baked Beans after leaving England for NZ. But I have fond memories of walking home from school for lunch and my Mum would have a plate of beans on toast ready for me. Yum.
    Then, when I moved to the States to get married, again it took me ages to adjust to the sweeter taste of Van Kamp Pork and Beans. Baked beans are a different animal here, darker and spicier. Pork and beans are closer to what I wanted, although the little gob of pork fat that always sits on top of the can is a bit unappetizing. Luckily, my husband enjoys my "eggs and beans and bacon on toast" dinners occasionally, and my kids grew up on it so don't think it's weird, but my American friends squint at me when I describe it.
    Still, I grab Heinz beans whenever I see them. Old habits die hard. I will give your recipe a try, although I'm afraid I am eternally attached to the dastardly canned variety.
    Golly, maybe I should do my own blog post on beans!

  4. Yum, I just made this for dinner and it was delicious. We had some chorizo with the baked beans too. Next time I would reduce the sugar to 1tbsp I think as I found the corn bread just a tad too sweet.


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