Baked beans have always been a staple of my diet, I am British after all, we have beans on toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, although the British have become the experts at beans, they are originally a wild west classic.
My first experience of eating proper American baked beans was sat in a western style ranch in California. I had spent the day flying in a helicopter around the Grand Canyon and into the canyon itself. We landed outside of the ranch and rode horses back over to the ridge to watch the sunset over the canyon.
Once the sun had set and we have arrived back at the ranch, we sat around an open campfire and ate dinner, I can’t really remember what it was, but it defiantly had wild west baked beans, and they were amazing. We spent the evening roasting marshmallows and singing country songs. It was great.
Since that trip, many years ago, my mum has tried her hand at making baked beans and has created an amazing recipe. Unlike tinned baked beans, these ones have a BBQ flavoured sauce and small chunks of bacon in with it. They are truly amazing beans.
So, here is the recipe. Enjoy.
1/2 tablespoon Paprika
2 dried chipotle chillies
800g of Cannellini beans
400g of Pinto beans
400g of tinned chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Swig of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
4-6 rashers of bacon
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 180C. Put a few glugs of olive oil into a cast iron pan and heat on a medium heat. Add sliced onions and smoked paprika and fry until the onions have softened.
While your onions are cooking, put your dried Chipotle chillies in a bowl of 300ml boiling water making sure the chillies are fully submerged. They will rehydrate in the water- this can take a while!
Add butter into the pan of onions, when it has melted add both types of beans along with any juices from the tins. Add the tinned tomatoes, bay leaves and the salt and pepper. Then take the dried chillies from the water and slice them finely, add them to the pan along with the water.
Stir everything together and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down very low and cook the beans slowly for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Add a dash of white wine vinegar, and the molasses. Add the bacon, sliced into small cubes, and allow the mixture to cook for a further 40 minutes.
This is a great meal with meat, toast or just on its own!