Every week I get feed back from 'Big Brother' who tell me a lot about the visitors to the Frugal Foods Website, and it appears that there's a recipe on the website which is, week in week out the most popular recipe on the site. Which one is it? This one http://www.frugalfoods.co.uk/index.php/sausage-abaked-bean-casserole
What is it about Baked beans? They are derided as a staple food of hippy students; easily heated in a microwave and very cheap.
British supermarkets may sell store brand baked beans for less than thirty pence a can premium organic brands can see prices at nearly 80 pence but Baked beans are a classic example of aloss leader, a product sold by supermarkets for an abnormally low price, often less than cost.
Just be educated however, all your life you've been lied to, as they are not baked beans, they're stewed beans.
The beans in "baked" beans are navy beans, common beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, the same and vital species that gives us kidney, cannellini, french, black, pinto, haricot, flageolet, borlotti and marrow. Such beans contain up to three times the protein of rice or wheat, making rice and beans, stalwart dish of the Americas and the Caribbean, almost a complete meal.
The humble "baked" bean, stewed with pork and molasses, (the pork was dropped from the product during second world war rationing), were first tinned or canned around the US civil war in the 1860s. Unfortunately the first tin opener didnt appear until some time later (although patented by a Englishman in 1855), so the original tins had to be opened with hammers, chisles and probably more than a little in the way of lost patience and perhaps lost fingers!
You will probably be amazed to find out that Heinz Baked Beans arrived in Fortnum's in 1886 as an exotic luxury,
But today more mainstream, in the UK, 2.3m Brits eat Heinz beans alone, from around 1m cans, however In blind tastings Heinz invariably comes near the bottom: last year the consumer advice group Which? placed them fourth equal after Branston, Asda and Morrison's.
Baked beans may be an essential addition to a fry-up, and obligatory in the vegetarian version of the Full English, whatever that is.... Boston baked beans is a lovely winter supper but how do you like your baked beans?
Here are some other ideas:-
Sausage and Bean Bake
Preheat the oven to 200C, and grease a oven proof dish
Cook 12 chipolatas by frying in a couple of tablespoons of oil should take about five minutes. Turn frequently and with your other pair of hands peel and chop an onion, and four rashers of bacon. Add the onion and bacon to the Sausages and cook for a further four minutes or until the bacon starts to stoften.
Add a can of baked beans and a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved. Season with Salt, Pepper and Mixed herbs.
Transfer to the prepared dish and top with 'ripped up' crusty bread rolls or french bread, and sprinkle with grated cheese, and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve imediately.
Tomato and Bean, Cheesy pies
This dish works well as one pie or a number of small pies, so dont forget to remember this dish for your picnic this summer.
Approximately 12 slices of whte bread, flattened with a rolling pin, will make an alternative to pastry when it comes to either lining muffin tins or one large flan case (overlapped). Butter the bread on one side first and line the cases with the butter side down. Bake 'blind' for ten minutes until the 'case' is golden brown.
Spoon Baked beans (straight from the tin) in to the bottom of the cases ( you may only use half the tin)
Then, in a jug whisk three eggs, 6 tbsp of milk and 1tsp of dried herbs with 50g of cheddar cheese, pour the mixture over the beans and the top each pie iwth a couple of slices of tomato and back for 15-20 minutes until the pies are set and turning a slightly golden brown.
Smokey Beans with Bacon on Toast
Fry 2 rashers of chipped streay bacon in a frying pan until crispy, then remove to a plate.
Add 1 small onion, finely choppped and one peeled and crushed garlic clove to the pan and cook over a medium heat until the onion is softened.
Stir in a tin of baked beans, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp English Mustard, 1tsp paprika, 1tsp ground cumin and a pinch of chilli powder and heat through.
Spoon the beans on to two slices of granary or ciabatta bread. Top with the bacon and a little parsley garnish
For me baked beans, when not on served with a Sunday Morning fry up, they should be on hot buttered toast, or part of the cheese 'n' beans Jacket potato topping.
What ever way you do it, enjoy your beans.