Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Portuguese Beans

I've been cooking a lot from Jack Monroe's first book and blog recently. Her cooking philosophy is very similar to mine, and whilst I haven't had the same experience of having to cook to a very tight budget or live below the line, I too cannot stand wasting food!

This might sound ridiculous, but one of her suggestions was a complete revelation to me. As a budget way of buying haricot or similar white beans, she suggests buying your supermarket basics brand and rinsing the sauce off. I like to think I cook reasonably economically but I would never have thought of this.

I fancied beans on toast for breakfast this morning, so duly retrieved the baked bean tin from the cupboard. However I found the calorie count, likely from the sugary sauce, pretty off putting. I had a vague recollection of reading about a home made baked beans recipe on Ms Monroe's Facebook page but it turns out it was just a suggestion. Sorry Jack, I pinched your recipe name (and your recipe is probably better anyway).

From start to finish - to plate - it took around twenty minutes. I added the sugar because I could taste a slight vinegariness probably from the roasted pepper from a jar. It might well be a richer finish with a teaspoon of oil to fry the bacon and onions in; and of course if you want a veggie version just leave the bacon out. This would be pretty good made with some diced chorizo or leftover sausage too. Next time I would probably dice some carrot to fry with the onion and I'll probably use a smidge of oil - half a tbsp. All ingredients were found lurking in my fridge or spice cupboard!

2 rashers lean bacon, diced
1 garlic clove finely chopped
Tin of baked beans, rinsed
Half tsp spicy paprika
Half tsp sugar
Half courgette, diced
1 drained roasted pepper, diced
2tbsp tomato puree
Some water to loosen near the end of cooking

Serves 3

Dry fry your bacon and onion together in a good non stick frying pan. (Or if you are lazy like me and use the milk pan that's already out, cook on a high heat in a bit of water to soften the onion.)

Rinse ALL the sauce off your baked beans to reveal the white haricot beans.

Add the courgette and paprika and lower the heat. I like it spicy but if you don't, just add regular paprika.

Add the tomato puree and stir. Add the beans and a little water if you need to.

Add the pepper, stir and taste. At this point I added the sugar to balance the flavour, and I don't have a sweet tooth.

Stir and serve!

This stores perfectly well in the fridge for a few days or can be frozen. It's also surprisingly filling - I might have it with egg instead of toast tomorrow morning, or it would be nice for lunch on a baked potato with grated cheese (or in a tortilla wrap, pitta bread, with nachos).