How to make the perfect baked beans
BAKED beans, like most foods, taste quite different if they're homemade as opposed to what you buy in a can.
Beans, also known as pulses or legumes, are packed with protein and therefore make a great (and cheap) substitute for meat.
If you do eat meat, you can flavour slow-cooked baked beans with something tasty like smoked pork or chorizo.
This recipe is for beans in a barbecue-style sauce. I have used slices of chorizo, but if you prefer, omit the spicy sausages and add a little more paprika.
Barbecue-style baked beans
INGREDIENTS: 500g dried borlotti beans 2 chorizos, cut into slices 1 red onion, peeled and chopped 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1/2 green capsicum, seeded and diced 1 x 400ml can tomato puree 4 tbs tomato paste 3 tbs brown sugar 1/4 cup molasses or golden syrup 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp smoky paprika 2 tbs red wine vinegar.
METHOD: Discard any debris in the beans. Rinse, then place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with cold water, place lid on pot and leave to soak overnight. Drain beans the next morning and cover again with fresh cold water. Cover and bring water to the boil; take the lid off and boil for 10 minutes, then cover again, reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Drain.
Preheat oven to 140C. Heat a frypan over medium heat. Fry chorizo slices until fat starts to render. Add onion, garlic and capsicum, cook over gentle heat until onion becomes transparent. Transfer to the Dutch oven and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Add enough water to almost cover beans. Place lid on Dutch oven and bake at 140C for three hours. Remove lid and bake for a further hour. If sauce is a little thin, bake for a further hour or until sauce has reduced and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slow cooker: Put beans in the slow cooker after the soaking (there is no need to boil them). Cook the chorizo and vegetables as above and put everything in the slow cooker. Cook on high for an hour, then switch to low for eight hours. Serves 6.