Beans means …

It’s a cold, windy day today so that means one thing – on with a large pot of baked beans and a fresh baguette from the boulangerie.

There is one thing I miss from Australia and that’s my baked beans. Well, ok 3 things – baked beans, crunchy peanut butter and Vegemite. Peanut butter and vegemite supplies taken care of thanks to Aussie visitors, but the baked beans I now make myself.

I could go to the supermarche, look for the “international” food section, look for British Heinz beans and pay a fortune. Besides the fact that they probably won’t taste like the good old SPC beans I’m used to in Aus, I just can’t do it. There’s nothing worse than expats eating nothing but their imported stuff from home. And, there’s nothing better than buying fresh local ingredients and making your own.

The recipe is only very slightly adapted from one provided by one of my favourite Aussie chefs, so see below if you’d like to see his original recipe.

Happy winter day!

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2-3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
500g dried haricot blanc (white beans – i like haricot lingot just because of the size)
2 medium carrots
1 large celery stalk
1/2 red capsicum
4-5 fresh tomatoes
Handful of fresh thyme leaves
Handful of fresh parsley & 2 bay leaves
2 chicken stock sachets or cubes (or powder)
Olive oil

Soak the dried beans overnight in a large bowl, then rinse & drain a couple of times.
Finely chop the onion & garlic & add to olive oil in a large, heavy based pot. Fry over medium-high heat until just softening. Add the diced carrot, celery and capsicum & stir until slightly softened. Add the drained beans, chopped parsley and thyme leaves, stir to coat with oil for a few minutes. Add diced tomatoes, chicken stock sachets and about 2 cups of water and the bay leaves. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low & simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, checking to see if more water is needed. Season with sea salt & freshly ground pepper before serving.

George Calombaris’ Recipe



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