Everybody loves baked beans, but they are not actually baked. This simple baked bean recipe is easy to make and the results are very tasty.
Soak the Beans
You may not need to do this step, but if your beans are old it will help. Put them into a bowl, cover generously with hot water and stir in a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Leave to soak for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. After soaking, drain the beans and rinse them in cold water to get the bicarb off.
Cook the Beans
Put the beans into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to the boil then turn the heat down to a simmer. Put a lid on the pan and cook for at least half an hour. Check the beans after this time - if you can squash one between your finger and thumb, they are cooked. If they're still hard, cook them some more - it might take an hour or more to achieve tender beans.
Make the Sauce
While the beans are cooking, make the tomato sauce. Thinly slice the onion and gently cook it in some oil on a low heat - you do not want to colour the onion, just soften it. Now add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and cook for about 10 minutes. Put the tomatoes and onions into a blender and whizz until smooth. You might also want to pass the sauce base through a fine sieve to get an extra-smooth sauce - press it through the sieve using the back of a large spoon.
Return the sauce to the pan and add sugar, vinegar and salt. Taste the sauce and add more of the previous items if you think it needs it. Set the sauce aside until the beans are ready.
Make the Baked Beans
Drain the cooked beans and stir them into the sauce. Let them cook together for about 15 minutes so the beans absorb some of the flavour of the sauce.
Serve as part of a Full English Breakfast, or on hot buttered toast made from the very worst kind of sliced white bread.