Baked beans

Today I am cooking baked beans to have with some rather nice sausages from Sillfield Farm; the bacon in the recipe also comes from there and it is the best bacon I have ever eaten. To cook baked beans you will need:

500g dried flageolet beans soaked overnight in cold water
500g unsmoked streaky bacon in one piece
8-10 small onions or shallots
3 tablespoons black treacle
50g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon English mustard
4 cloves.

Drain the beans then place then in an oven-proof casserole dish and add enough water to cover them by a couple of centimetres. Boil hard for ten minutes then simmer gently for an hour. Whilst they are simmering cut the bacon into lumps a few centimetres across. You can leave the rind on the pieces, or trim it off the bacon whilst it is still in a lump. If you trim off the rind make sure it is added when you put the bacon in the casserole. Peel the onions and stick a clove into four of them.

After the simmering time is over if the beans have become dry then add just enough hot water to cover them. Then add the bacon (plus rind if you cut it off), onions, sugar, mustard and treacle and stir well. Cover the casserole dish with a lid and place in the oven pre-heated to 140C. Cook for three hours.

After three hours remove the lid and stir, before placing the dish back in the oven with the lid off for another hour. This allows the bacon bits to brown and thickens the sauce. You can then serve the baked beans (with the piece of rind removed if you cut it off to start with). As I said, I’ll be having these with sausages tonight, but they are quite nice by themselves or you can even spread them on toast. They’ll keep in the fridge in a Tupperware container for a week.

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