Baked beans are delicious. They're also typically loaded with sugar and come out of a BPA lined can. So why not make your own? This recipe is made with whole ingredients, a natural sweetener, and does not take as long as you would think. If you need a side for a picnic or BBQ, or even want a base for a meal like I've done below, this is a recipe to try out.
This is a blog post about British cuisine. Why? Because I am a proud Brit, and when I think of 'comfort food' I often think of the staples of the British diet. Unfortunately those staples are: animal products, animal bi-products, fried things, booze, bread, and more fried things. I don't know how anyone in the country who subsides off of a traditional diet makes it past the age of 11 without requiring a triple bypass. Yet we do, because not only are we fun to hang out with when food and drink is involved, but we also have a national disposition towards being stubborn.
One dish that is popular as a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, beverage or mouth wash is baked beans (Heinz, of course) with a fried egg on top and thick cut french fries (chips, as they are known) fried in lard. If you're not vegan you owe it to yourself to try this at least once. However, if you are, I've made my own version. I made my own low sodium, low sweetened natural barbecue baked beans, substituted polenta fries for the chips, and went with a roasted portobello mushroom instead of the fried egg. This recipe is just for the beans, but you can find the polenta fries recipe here.
What you need:
2 1/2 cups pinto beans, rehydrated, or two cans (not exact conversion but close enough)
1/2 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey + dash more (Or agave/date sugar if full vegan)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup water
In a saucepan or dutch oven saute the onion with one tablespoon water until translucent
Add all of your other ingredients and stir carefully until combined
Leave this, covered, on low heat, for about five minutes so everything can mingle and sweat
Keep checking and stirring for at least 20 minutes. It's important NOT to mash this recipe, but instead to stir carefully so the beans stay whole
Taste test, add any additional ingredients
Depending on how long you leave this to cook you may need to add additional water. These save in the fridge really nicely, so making a big batch and then freezing some is a great idea. This recipe has many more uses than just being a British comfort food replacement, so let me know how you end up using it!