Proper Baked Beans

This is a recipe for beans on toast, but not as you know it: there’s no Heinz to be seen.

I’ve been meaning to make my own baked beans for ages, and finally got around to it yesterday. And I’m really, really glad I did – they’re similar enough to the tinned variety to be familiarly comforting, but different enough to make it worthwhile making them yourself. I looked at half a dozen or so recipes online before amalgamating the best bits and adding my own ideas, and this was the result.

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Ingredients (serves 4):
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
– 2x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
– 100ml red wine
– 100ml red wine vinegar
– 1tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar
– 300ml vegetable stock
– 2tsp smoked paprika
– 3x 400g tin beans (I used haricot, kidney and cannellini)
– salt and pepper, to taste

1. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large oven-proof pot, along with the onion, celery, garlic and carrot. Cook these on the hob for about 10 minutes, until soft and cooked through.

2. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Add the chopped tomatoes, vinegar, wine, sugar, stock and paprika and bring to the boil. Allow this to simmer for 20 minutes, until it’s thickened and reduced by an inch or so.

3. Use a hand blender (or whatever you have) to purée your sauce. You can make it as smooth as you like – I prefer to leave a bit of texture to it.

4. Drain the beans and stir them into the sauce, before transferring the pot to the oven for 30 minutes.

5. Season to taste, and serve with buttered toast.

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If you like you can also stir through some chopped parsley for an extra zing of taste and colour, or add tabasco and chilli for a spicy kick to beat the winter chill.

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