Friday, 10 January 2014

Boston Baked Beans with Sausages: Warming and Treacly

Commercial tinned baked beans: ready in five. Boston Baked Beans: ready in 2h 20m. However, most of the Boston time does not need any attention, the recipe is tweakable, and the results are very pleasing.

Our slow cooker is small and the quantity here serves 2. Mr P likes Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages, while I prefer the Lincolnshire type, so we used two of each. Haricot beans could, of course, be bought dried, then soaked overnight and cooked vigorously, but I've used a can.

The only 'equipment' needed is the slow cooker, a small bowl and a melamine/wooden spoon! If you want to have a go at the recipe and don't have a slow cooker, use an ovenproof dish and keep in the oven, covered, for the duration on a lowish temp - around 130C - so that it bubbles very gently once heated up. Still stir occasionally. In the early stages the sauce may seem runny, but it thickens up nicely towards the end of the cooking time.

Treacle, sugar, mustard & sputniks
Boston Baked Beans with Sausages

410g tin haricot beans in water
2 small onions, each studded with 3 cloves
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 good tbsp black treacle
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp dijon mustard (or wholegrain)
Half tsp salt
Plenty of ground black pepper
4 vegetarian sausages
Juice and grated zest of half a lemon

1  Switch slow cooker on to high.
2  Drain the beans (saving the liquid) and add to the cooker with the onions.
3  Place the sugar, treacle, puree, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper in the bowl with
         3 tbsp of the liquid from the beans and mix well. This will be quite syrupy to start.
4  Leave to cook for about 75 mins, stirring occasionally. Once it's bubbling gently,
         alter the setting from high to medium/low/auto, whatever keeps it at that point.
5  Add the sausages and mix around so they're covered in the beans and sauce.
6  Leave to cook for a further 45 mins.
7  Discard the onions (or save for soup), then stir in the lemon juice and zest.
8  Cook a further 5-10 mins for the lemon flavour to mix in.

As alternatives, black-eyed beans could replace haricots, and a couple of tablespoons of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce could be used instead of lemon juice.

With these we had small Charlotte potatoes with optional parsley butter, but roasties would go well, as would rostis or bought breaded potato cakes. A nice full-bodied red wine goes well. So I'm told. 

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