English Baked Beans #SundaySupper

Sorry things have been a bit quite here. I am studying to take my Life in the UK test to get my permanent leave to remain visa in the UK. Between that and other craziness of life it can be hard to keep up with blogging sometimes. But today’s Sunday Supper theme was one so close to my heart that I knew I had to make the time. Today we are talking about budget meals. Budgeting is what first got me into blogging. Discovering that I could live on a tight budget while still enjoying good, healthy food that was cooked from scratch ignited a new passion in my life.

So what makes a meal a budget meal? Each person has different requirements for a recipe to qualify as a budget friendly recipe. For the most part it is a recipe that uses ingredients that you are likely to already have around the house.

Because nothing out of a can is good for me or my family I work really hard to avoid them. But one weakness we have is for baked beans. But if you have never had English baked beans then let me tell you they are nothing like American baked beans. American baked beans are a lot sweeter, more brown sugar based, where English baked beans are tomato sauce based. In the UK a tin of store brand baked beans are so cheap it is almost cheaper to just buy it in the tin. But for us what we put in our bodies, especially the tiny body of my daughter, is so much more important then cost. All in all this recipe is still cheap to make, and it cooks up a large batch. I keep the beans in a large glass jar in the fridge and use within 3-4 days, but you can also freeze it.

In the UK baked beans is the pinnacle of cheap meals. We eat it with our fried breakfast, over jacket potatoes (baked potatoes) but the even more common is beans on toast. It is the simple meal parents throw together for their kids on crazy days and it is a high protein and fibre snack, especially when served over wholemeal toast. My American family things the idea of beans on toast is strange, but don’t knock it until you have tried it. It was the only thing I can honestly say I did crave when I was pregnant.

English Baked Beans

250g dried white beans (haricot or navy)
1/4 tsp baking soda
400g (14oz) crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, diced
1/2 Tbsp thyme
2 Tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
25g (2 Tbsp) sugar, or to taste
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
Salt to taste
adapted from The Tiffin Box


Soak the beans in cold water overnight.

The next day wash and drain them, then cover with cold water, add the baking soda, and cook them for about 1 hour on a medium heat till they are tender, keep at eye on the pan because if you don’t rinse the beans well enough it will create a foam that quickly over flows. Drain and set aside.

In a big, heavy pot heat the oil and saute the onion, for about 5 – 10 minutes on a medium heat. Then add the thyme and garlic. Stir and cook for another minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes. Pour in the Worcester and hot sauces, sugar and salt. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool completely. *I have had a few people comment that 2 cloves of garlic was too much for them so add to taste.

When cool, puree well in a food processor till it turns to a smooth sauce. Return to the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Add the beans to the sauce and cook on a low heat for at least 30 – 45 minutes, or more, until the beans are very soft. Alternatively these could then be put into a slow cooker. While they are good right away we discovered that they tasted even better then next day. *You might need to add water to thin as it can come out very thick. We personally like it very thick but adjust to desired texture with more water.

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English Baked Beans
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8
 

Ingredients
  • 250g dried white beans (haricot or navy)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 400g (14oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • ½ Tbsp thyme
  • 2 Tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 25g (2 Tbsp) sugar, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Soak the beans in cold water overnight. The next day wash and drain them, then cover with cold water, add the baking soda, and cook them for about 1 hour on a medium heat till they are tender, keep at eye on the pan because if you don’t rinse the beans well enough it will create a foam that quickly over flows. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a big, heavy pot heat the oil and saute the onion, for about 5 – 10 minutes on a medium heat. Then add the thyme and garlic. Stir and cook for another minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes. Pour in the Worcester and hot sauces, sugar and salt. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. When cool, puree well in a food processor till it turns to a smooth sauce. Return to the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. Add the beans to the sauce and cook on a low heat for at least 30 – 45 minutes, or more, until the beans are very soft. Alternatively these could then be put into a slow cooker. While they are good right away we discovered that they tasted even better then next day.

 

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27 Responses to English Baked Beans #SundaySupper

  1. You are destined to pass the test, Laura! My British friends are all English Baked Beans fans. Thank you for sharing the how-to so I can make my pals from London feel more welcome when they visit =)

  2. Renee says:

    I’ve never had English baked beans. I should give them a try since the American ones are seeming too sweet for me these days.

  3. We love baked beans! Can’t wait to try your English version.

  4. I will have to admit beans on toast does sound odd to me, but these English baked beans with a tomato base sound delicious. I can’t wait to try them.

  5. Love baked beans and I love your recipe! What wonderful combination of flavors!

  6. We miss you when you are quiet! So glad to have you and your recipes back!

  7. Bea says:

    This sounds delicious!!! My bean loving 9 year old will love to eat baked beans on toast. This may be a way to get her to eat bread :)

    We also try to avoid canned foods, and most of the times I use dried beans. I buy dried beans in bulk and find them not to only be budget friendly, but also so much tastier. Yes, we are what we eat and we must be careful with the foods we feed our and our children’s bodies…

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe :)

    • Laura says:

      I love using dried beans, so much cheaper. Once I started using them I had a hard time going back to tins because they don’t taste as nice.

  8. Diana @GourmetDrizzles says:

    What a lovely recipe! I adore baked beans and these sound and look amazing. Thanks for sharing these with us, and good luck in your studies!

  9. I love Baked Beans great choice!

  10. Sarah says:

    I like your beans more than mine! Total sucker for beans on toast – hot or cold!

  11. Mmmm. Now this is homey and comforting. What a great dish!

  12. It’s funny because I love the idea of beans on toast – from British friends, tv shows, movies, etc…yet I’ve never tried it myself! I have everything to make your beans, though – and since we’re a family of bean lovers, what better time than the present!? Mmmmm…

  13. Thanks for sharing this recipe. The baked beans look yummy. I have bookmarked this recipe so I can try it. If you get a chance stop by my blog Recipe for Life and check out some of my family favorite recipes at: http://deborah-bateman.blogspot.com
    Blessings,
    Deborah H. Bateman – Author

  14. Megan says:

    This is new to me! I have never tried English Baked Beans before. Sounds delicious!

  15. I think putting “English” in the title automatically makes these sounds quite fancy! I really like the whole idea and bet my kids would too.

  16. Kathy says:

    I made this for hubby who loves Heniz beans and they cost an arm and a leg here in the US, although I can get them. My only complaints about this recipe is 1) I found it to be far too much flavour of garlic and 2) the sauce was a bit too thick. I did add some water…but we shall see when hubby tries them. I’m sure he’ll like them better than any of our American baked beans.

    • Laura says:

      I hope he liked it. I am afraid our love for garlic could have had an influence in the strong garlic flavour and my husband has this thing about thick baked beans. When we do get it from the tin he insists on cooking it for a long time until it thickens up. But hopefully you were able to tweak it so you both liked it. I remember how much we had to pay for the tins in the US it had to be a rare treat for us back then because it was so expensive. Which is funny since it is cheap food here.

  17. Belle says:

    Hi. I live in Nigeria and the tinned baked beans are cut throat here. Saw your recipe and wld luv to try it tomorrow, already soaked the beans. However, two things we don’t have here in Nigeria, the hot sauce and Worcester sauce. Fermenting crushed fresh peppers and salt for the hot sauce, but what can I use to substitute the Worcester sauce? Read they are made up of anchovies, vinegar and tamarind, so I was thinking if fresh fish (titus) stock & a bit of lime wld do. Tnks

  18. Belle says:

    Hi. I live in Nigeria and the tinned baked beans are cut throat here. Saw your recipe and wld luv to try it tomorrow, already soaked the beans. However, two things we don’t have here in Nigeria, the hot sauce and Worcester sauce. Fermenting crushed fresh peppers and salt for the hot sauce, but what can I use to substitute the Worcester sauce? Read they are made up of anchovies, vinegar and tamarind, so I was thinking if fresh fish (titus) stock & a bit of lime wld do.

    • Laura says:

      That is a bit difficult as it is a very distinct taste. But you can’t taste the fish in Worcester sauce so I would worry the fish stock would be too powerful. If you have access to soy sauce I would recommend maybe trying a splash of that with a small amount of vinegar. The only other thing I would suggest is making it without it at all and taste testing it. While it won’t be exact to the tinned version you might find it can live without it.

  19. Belle says:

    Ok, will go without it altogether. Not sure there’s soy sauce here. Thanks sooooo much. Would make it tomorrow and tell you how it turns out

    • Laura says:

      Did it turn out?

      • Belle says:

        Sorry I cldnt respond earlier, my data plan ws exhausted. Just got a new 1. It ws ok, bt ddnt taste like d heinz beans. My mom & kid bro liked it. It ws thick, I blv I ddnt add enuf watr & wy 2 much garlic. Plus, I used black eyed white kidney beans. Bt it ws ok. Tnks, wl cont tryin

        • Laura says:

          I have actually had a few people comment about there being too much garlic so I might make a few notes. Sadly the Worcester sauce is one of the keys for us to tasting like Heinz. But hopefully you can play around with it more to suit your tastes. Glad you gave it a try.

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