Thursday, 23 August 2007

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit

People have told me, and you probably agree, that I am completely crazy for making my own baked beans. It started off as something I made for Christopher when he was first eating proper food. Beans of all sorts are a terrific, and very cheap, source of protein, so I got set on the idea of giving him beans on toast as a quick meal occasionally. Bought, tinned baked beans are full of added salt and therefore no good for babies, so I had to figure out a way of making them myself. I'm not at all keen on tinned beans, so I was surprised to find that I really like these. I now regularly make a batch and portion them up in little boxes for the freezer. They stash in there for several months and make a quick lunch for the boys and me to share, a snack for anyone who needs one or even a side dish for something like meatloaf, sausages or chicken drumsticks. These aren't the same as tinned ones; they have more texture and taste rather different. Plus, they're not actually baked, though I have kept the name. Authenticity be damned...

I use dried beans to make this, though you could subsitute several cans of drained and rinsed tinned beans of your choice. Make sure they're salt free if you’re making this for a baby less than 1 year old. The same proviso goes for the stock, though making your own chicken or vegetable stock really is worth it (and very little work). Then you know exactly what's gone into it.

'Baked' Beans

240g dried haricot beans
1 onion, finely chopped
few sprigs fresh thyme

1 tbsp olive oil
400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tsp tomato purée
2 tsp unrefined caster sugar

400ml stock (see above)
2 bay leaves

Soak the beans in cold water overnight. The next day, drain the beans, place in a pan of fresh water and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes, the turn down the heat and simmer for an hour. Drain the beans into a large sieve or colander. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, tip in the onion and thyme leaves and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée to the pan. Cook briefly, then tip in the beans and add the stock. Stir well, adding the sugar and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the sauce reduces too much for your liking. If you’re giving these to a baby, you may need to purée or mash them, depending on the child’s age. My boys ate them without adjustment from just before 9 months.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails