On a recent trip to Boston and Plymouth in New England U.S.A., I searched high and low for an outstanding version of Boston Baked Beans. The story goes that the pilgrims, who landed at Plymouth in the early 17th century, learned how to make baked beans from native Americans. They sweetened them with maple syrup and then with molasses, an ingredient used in the distillation of rum in Boston, creating Boston Baked Beans and served them with cornbread, another recipe learned from native Americans. Here's a simpler and much quicker version, a goodie for breakfast, brunch or Sunday supper.
- olive or vegetable oil - 1 tablespoon
- bacon rashers - 4, rind removed and diced
- brown onion - 1, finely choped
- garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
- mustard - 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or mustard powder)
- paprika - 1 teaspoon
- diced tomatoes - 1 x 400g can
- brown sugar - 2 teaspoons
- cloves - 4
- dried thyme - 1/2 teaspoon dried, or 1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
- cannellini beans - 2 x 400g tins, drained and rinsed
- water - 1/2 cup
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- wholemeal or sourdough bread - 4 slices, toasted
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the bacon and cook 3 - 4 minutes over high heat until it sizzles. Turn down heat and add the onion and garlic and cook until softened but not coloured, 6 – 8 minutes.
Add the mustard and paprika and cook for a further minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, cloves and thyme and cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Add the rinsed beans and water. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Season to taste.
Serve the beans ladled over warm buttered toast.