Heinz baked beans have always been a little guilty breakfast pleasure of mine. Although my days of weekly fryups with eggs, hashbrowns, sausages and beans are over, I still occasionally indulge in a spoonful or two of the orangey gloopy Heinz beans on fresh Sunnyside eggs. They remind me, along with tinned spaghetti, of breakfast on school camps, where the only food apart from cereal (and you know how much I detest cereal) would be the lukewarm scrambled frittata eggs, toast and confusingly piping hot beans and spaghetti. Although the orangey syrup is always comforting to a degree, the tinny aftertaste doesn’t necessarily gel with the gourmet Persian fetta that suddenly you’re addicted to as an adult.
I’ve never made my own baked beans before since I don’t eat a lot of it, but after some inspiration from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Home Cooking, I decided to give it a go. And for something so ridiculously easy but OH MAI GAWD TASTY!!! I’ve been kicking myself for the past 2 weeks for not making it…oh I dunno…like 15 years ago.
Homemade Spicy Baked Beans
(serves 3-4 as a side)
50g pancetta (diced)
1 small brown onion (diced)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
2 sprigs thyme
1 chilli (chopped finely)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups passata
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can (420g) cannellini or haricot beans (although I used four bean mix since it was in the house)
Salt & pepper to taste
In a cast iron pot on medium heat, add in olive oil and the pancetta. Fry off the pancetta until brown, then add the onion, garlic, chilli and thyme. Sauté for a few minutes, and once the onion starts to become a little translucent, add the brown sugar, and allow the ingredients to caramelise in the pan.
Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, making sure to scrape up the lovely caramelised bits from the bottom. Add in the passata, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Cook the sauce for another 5 minutes to reduce the liquid down a little.
Add the beans into the sauce then cover the pot and simmer on low for 5-7 minutes, depending on how mushy you want your beans. Serve with sunny side eggs and good toasted bread.
I find a batch like this usually lasts for 3-4 breakfasts for me over the week. The flavours of the baked beans are even better once they are allowed to rest on the fridge overnight.