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Baked Beans

  • 1lb navy/haricot beans,
  • Approx 1/4 lb brown sugar,
  • Juice of 2 lemons,
  • Small can tomato paste,
  • Half a large onion, chopped finely,
  • Good sized garlic bulb, peeled and crushed,
  • 1 tblsp ground corriander,
  • 1 tblsp ground cumin,
  • 1/2 tblsp ground black pepper,
  • a few whole cloves,
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder.
Food picture

Alternative suggestion.

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. They should swell up to quite a respectable quantity. Don't try to shortcut this stage. There are malicious proteins in beans, and the soaking helps to eliminate them. Set the oven to about 225F. Throw away the soaking water, and rinse the beans.

Cook the beans in an oven-proof casserole with a well-fitting lid. Put the beans in the casserole and cover with boiling water - about half an inch more water than beans. Don't salt them at this point - they cook better without. Put them in the oven, and forget about them - well almost, you're looking at about five hours in total. You can amuse yourself sometime within the next three hours by preparing the ingredients for the sauce.

Fry the onion in a little olive oil until it's soft - a little browning is fine. Add the spices and garlic, and fry these briefly with the onion. Take the beans out of the oven, and stir in the onion/garlic/spice mixture, the sugar, and about 3/4 of the can of tomato paste. Use the whole can if you're enthusiastic about a rich tomato flavor.

Put the whole thing back in the oven. Taking it out and stirring it periodically, and ensuring that there's just a little liquid covering the beans during the first four hours. I can't give a definite time for the cooking. After four hours, add salt and do a taste check. Add more sugar if you'd like the beans sweeter. Stir in the lemon juice toward the end. Proceed until the beans are no longer crunchy.

Alternatively, go to the store and buy a can of baked beans, stir in a spoonful of curry powder, and heat them up. Why didn't I think of that?

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