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Traditional Baked Beans

baked beans (1 of 1)

2 seemingly unrelated facts led me to try out a new recipe today.

1: I think beans can be among the most delicious of all foods – rich, creamy, satisfying and healthy.

2: I need work lunches!

Since I often fall back on tinned baked beans I decided to try making my own. In an old family cookbook I have a recipe for ‘Mrs Abbenantes Baked Beans’ that I loosely based this on.


  • 2 cups dried Haricot beans (you could substitute other white dried beans or a few tins of already cooked beans if in a hurry).
  • 2 rashers smoky bacon
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 capsicum (pepper)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 fresh ripe tomatoes (optional – but it adds a little zing)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • olive oil


  1. Unless using tinned beans, soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. Then drain the water, and put the soaked beans in another pan with enough fresh water to cover them well (water as deep above the beans as the width of your hand or so). Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1-2 hours. After an hour, start tasting the beans now and then to see if they are done – they should be soft, but not falling apart. Try not to stir too much while they cook to avoid breaking them up. When done, drain and set aside.
  2. Dice the capsicum (pepper), bacon, onion and carrot medium fine. Mash and dice the garlic. Over medium heat, saute in a saucepan with a glug of olive oil until starting to soften and brown – 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the wine, bay leaf and other spices (and diced fresh tomato if using). Stir for another minute or so.
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes, cooked beans and honey along with 4 cups of water. Put the lid on the pan and simmer on fairly low heat for about an hour, stirring now and then. If the mixture dries out too fast add a little more water.
  5. After an hour remove the lid and continue to simmer until the mixture is as thick as you like, stirring often. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with more salt if needed.

I ate mine with a drizzle of good olive oil, grated parmesan and black pepper – delicious. The plan is to freeze portions for work lunches – but we will see how much is left over as I just went back for seconds…


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