Boston Baked Beans

I have made this delicious Boston baked beans recipe for many years, and even more often since I discovered that doing all the ‘prep’ in my Thermomix makes it really easy. Once the sauce is ready and the beans stirred in, slow oven baking infuses flavour gradually into the beans for a fabulous result.

Interestingly, this inexpensive and comforting meal is traditional in Great Britain and Sweden as well as Boston. Boston baked beans are wonderful as a main course served with salad and perhaps a baked potato/sweet potato, or serve them as a side dish for roast meats and barbeques. Several friends recently said they might never buy a tin of baked beans again after tasting these!

My recipe is inspired by the North American ‘Bible’ of recipes, Joy of Cooking, a very special cookbook which was given to me by my brother when I moved into my first home – special because it was a lovely gift and it’s an excellent, comprehensive reference that I still use 40 years later.

Start 4 hours ahead to allow for baking time.

Start the day before if soaking and cooking your own haricot beans.

This recipe is suitable for Thermomix TM6, TM5 and TM31.

ACTIVE TIME 15 MINUTES

TOTAL TIME 4 HOURS

SERVES 8-12 PEOPLE

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Ingredients

  • 600 g cooked haricot beans from dried, or 3 x 400 g tinned haricot beans
  • 1 level Tbsp dry English mustard powder
  • 120 g onions, peeled, quartered
  • 1 fat garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 red cayenne chilli, fresh or dried, top removed
  • 50 g diced or rendered pork fat (dripping/lard), preferrably from pasture-raised pigs, or 50 g unsalted butter or 40 g olive oil, plus 1 tsp for greasing
  • 20 g coconut palm sugar or rapadura or unrefined cane sugar
  • 50 g tomato paste/concentrate/purée
  • 1 Tbsp molasses, measured in an oiled spoon so it slips off more easily
  • 1 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce or Worcerstershire sauce
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp vegetable stock paste (optional) – homemade in TM is best for flavour

Method

  1. If preparing your own dried haricot beans, follow my easy recipe.
  2. If using home cooked haricot beans, place TM simmering basket in a bowl and pour in beans with their cooking liquid to save cooking liquid. Lift simmering basket and allow to drain for 10 seconds or so. If using tinned beans, drain in same manner to save the liquid.
  3. Place another bowl on TM lid and weigh into it 600 g drained beans (if your home cooked beans made from 300 g dried haricot beans don’t weigh quite that much, just use what you have) then add 250 g reserved bean liquid and mustard powder, then set bowl aside.
  4. Chop onion, garlic, chilli, pork fat and sugar 7 sec/speed 4½, then sauté 7 min/100°C/speed 1.
  5. Scrape down lid and sides of TM bowl with spatula, add reserved beans with bean liquid and mustard powder, then place simmering basket instead of TM measuring cup on TM lid and cook 15 min/100°C/reverse/speed spoon; meanwhile preheat oven to 120°C without fan/100°C with fan/250°F/gas ½.
  6. Add tomato paste, molasses, tamari, sea salt and pepper, add TM stock paste if using, then with measuring cup in position on TM lid, cook 5 min/100°C/reverse/speed spoon; meanwhile, grease an oven-proof casserole dish with remaining 1 tsp pork fat, unsalted butter or olive oil. Transfer bean mixture to casserole dish, cover and bake 3 hours in preheated oven or Aga simmering oven.
  7. Remove lid, leave casserole in oven and increase temperature to 200°C without fan/180°C with fan/400°F/gas 6, or move casserole to Aga roasting oven. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

Janie’s Tips

  1. If this recipe makes more than you need, leftovers can be chilled in fridge up to a week or frozen up to 6 months. Defrost fully before reheating, add a little extra water, then bake in a covered ovenproof dish in a preheated oven at 180°C without fan/160°C with fan/350°F/gas 4 or Aga baking oven until bubbling and hot throughout.
  2. This recipe is dairy free – please read ingredient labels to ensure all your ingredients are dairy free if dairy free is required.
  3. For gluten free, use gluten free tamari or gluten free Worcestershire sauce and read ingredient labels to ensure all your other ingredients are gluten free too.
  4. For vegetarian, use butter or olive oil instead of pork fat.
  5. For vegan, use olive oil or coconut oil instead of pork fat.
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