Recipe: Boston Baked Beans

I’ve had a lot of people asking for this recipe since I mentioned I was making them, so here it is. It’s one of those dishes that takes forever to cook, but next to no effort to make because everything gets chucked in the slow cooker and left to cook all day long. And it’s well worth the wait – I promise you! I don’t make them often, but when I do, I wonder why I ever bought baked beans in a tin, and resolve to make them more often. And now that my eldest son has decided he likes them too, I’ll probably make them more often after all, as I won’t have to eat them all myself. Not that it’s a problem to do that, but beans every day for a week can be a bit much for any bit the biggest bean fans. However, if you’re going to eat beans every day, it might as well be really good beans you eat, and here they are!

For the record, apparently its the inclusion of molasses in the recipe that makes these beans Bostonian.

Key:
F = Free food (eat as much as you like)
S = Speed food (these should make up at least a third of your meal)
P = Protein free food (eat as much of these as you like!)
HEa = Healthy Extra A (a daily allowance of dairy produce)
HEb = Healthy Extra B (a daily allowance of a product with fibre)
# = a number denotes roughly how many syns are in foods used

11696603_10155703068765386_5854402640787693195_oBOSTON BAKED BEANS
Makes ten servings at 1 syn each

Ingredients:

  • 500g dried beans (P)
  • 8-10 slices of smoked bacon – all visible fat removed (P)
  • 2-3 onions – diced (S)
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced (S)
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses (4)
  • 2 tbsp dark muscavado sugar (6)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 500g passata (S)
  • 500 mls water (F)
  • 2 ham stock cubes (S)

Directions:

  • Put the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water, leaving several inches of water above the beans. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and leave them to soak overnight.
  • In the morning, rinse the beans with cold water, then put in a large pan, cover with water (leaving a couple of inches of water at the top) and bring to the boil. Let them simmer for 30-45 minutes, skimming off any scummy stuff that comes to the surface.
  • Drain the beans and rinse them again, then pop them in the slow cooker.
  • Cut the bacon into small pieces (around 1cm square), making sure all visible fat is removed, and dry fry them in a pan till cooked.
  • Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and give it a good stir to mix everything up.
  • Switch your slow cooker to high and leave them to cook for a good 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, remove the lid and reduce the heat to low or warm, and let them cook until the sauce thickens (1-2 hours).
  • Serve with whatever you like, sit back and bask in the compliments you’ll get from everyone saying these are the best beans they ever tasted!

You can use any kind of beans you like – I usually use haricot beans, but this time I used mixed beans and they were delicious – even my picky 6 year old who doesn’t like “purple beans” (red kidney beans, to you and me!) loved them and ate a whole portion with his dinner tonight.

I use ham stock cubes in mine, but you can use any stock cubes you like, and if you want to make your beans vegetarian, you can leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock cubes. I just use a whole pack of smoked bacon (make sure you use smoked, not unsmoked, bacon – it improves the flavour of the finished beans immeasurably!), so sometimes it’s eight slices, sometimes it’s ten – either way, it always tastes good!

Enjoy!

And in case anyone’s wondering, I served my Boston Baked Beans with corned beef hash, mushrooms and corn on the cob.

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