This is one of the first dishes that I ever cooked, albeit from a can. Everyone loves baked beans, and my home-made version is really worth the effort. These will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. They are also very good as part of a full English breakfast, or you could add curry powder when frying the onion to make curried beans.
The joy of this soda bread recipe is that it is so easy to make. It’s not proven bread, so it won’t sound hollow on the bottom if you tap, but you’ll know when to take it out of the oven because it will be golden brown and smell fantastic.
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus overnight soaking time | Cooking time: 2 hours
Four to six
- 400g dried white beans, such as haricot
- 5 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 200g smoked streaky bacon in one piece, diced
- 200g chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 150g soft dark brown sugar
- 200ml red wine vinegar
- 500ml water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the soda bread:
- 340g plain wholemeal flour
- 340g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 45g butter, softened, plus extra for spreading
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 625ml buttermilk
- To begin the baked beans, cover the white beans in cold water and soak overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the soda bread. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Put both flours, the butter, bicarbonate of soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Stir in the buttermilk and use your hands to mix all the ingredients together until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a greased baking sheet, pat into a loaf and dust with a little extra flour.
- Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the bread for 45–50 minutes until it is wonderfully golden. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- After the beans have soaked overnight, drain them and put them in a large saucepan. Cover them with water and bring to the boil.
- Drain the beans again and return to the pan. Cover with fresh water and return to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about one hour until the beans are just tender. Top up with boiling water, if needed. Drain the beans and set aside.
- Heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry, stirring, for about five minutes until it is crispy and the lovely bacon fat and flavour is in the pan.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and continue stirring for three to five minutes until the onion is softened.
- Add the canned tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar, vinegar and water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the beans, reduce the heat to very low and leave to simmer, uncovered, for 1½ to two hours until the sauce is thick and the beans are soft. Season.
- When ready to serve, preheat the grill to high. Slice the soda bread and toast until crisp and golden brown. Spread the toast with butter and serve with the baked beans.
Recipe from Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food by Tom Kerridge, published by Bloomsbury (£20). Order your copy from books.telegraph.co.uk