Homemade Baby Food Baked Beans
A compulsory component in any fry up. Piled on hot buttery toast, or dolloped on to a bowl of creamy mash on a rainy day. At home growing up we always used to refer to baked beans as ‘baby food’, partially because of their consistency, but also because of that exquisite feeling of comfort that undoubtedly accompanies them.
While a certain large name brand does them, famously, suitably well, they are made a little sweet for my taste buds. They are simple to make and this way you can toy around with the balance of ingredients to your taste buds. Adding ham hock or lardons to this recipe is also supreme, but as the breakfast in question had bacon already (and the aforementioned extortionate mushroom which, yes, was divine) I was reluctant to overload on the meat front.
Best made in advance, the day before as that allows for the flavour to penetrate into the beans and make them even more delicious. N.B. The mushroom was fried simply in garilc, butter and with a little bit of lemon thyme. I would usually throw some sauteed spinach in with this breakfast, but a lack of preparation and terrific hangover caused a little slip in my usually organised kitchen etiquette. Sincere apologies, shan’t happen again!
Ingredients (Serves 2-3):
A few fresh parsley leaves
A chunk of a good, mature cheddar (you want it to be robust)
A tbspn of flour
Boil the beans on a high heat for 5 minutes and then simmer for a fairly long time. They take a while to soften, but be patient, it will be so worth it. Once softened, drain the water and, using a potato masher, lightly press down on the beans so some but not all of the burst their skin just a little. You don’t want a bean mash, you just want to rough them up a bit, as it were. Place the beans back in the pot at a low to medium heat and pour in the tinned tomatoes and the tablespoon of flour.
Grate the cheese and stir it in with the beans. as much or as little as you like. I am more of an ‘as much’ girl personally. Not only because I have an utter adoration for all things dairy, but it also thickens the beany concoction, making it feel more indulgent. Leave a bit of cheese to sprinkle on top at the end, not only for presentation, but then you also get glorious little half molten nuggets of cheese.
Then add a generous dash of the worcestershire sauce, this will bring out the flavour of the tomato and add that trademark sweetness that we all associate with this kitchen cupboard stable. Remember to taste as you go as it is easy to over do it with the flavouring. Tear the parsley gently in your hands and stir it in. Once incorporated it should be ready to go, so get it on the tray next to a builder’s brew, and get back under that duvet!