Baked Beans & I have a special relationship. I discovered them when I moved to the UK in 2004. Maybe it was the fact that they looked so much like ‘Rajma’ (Red kidney beans), which is such a staple in most North Indian homes, or maybe it was the fact that I was all alone and working nonstop which made me look for some sort of relief & Baked Beans from a can somehow just fit that bill.
Every Sunday morning, after a grueling night shift at the local call center, I would walk to the local Tesco store and order the ‘Big Breakfast’ for a princely sum of £7. It was also at this time that I discovered a lot of women authors like Val McDermid, Marian Keyes, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, and P D James so it would be breakfast with books.
In those days, when life was slow, there was no reason to hurry, and no social media, so it was just me and my books. Armed with a few books, and an appetite, the sleep-deprived me would pick up a side table and indulge myself in a treat.
The breakfast consisted of Bacon, Hash brown, Baked beans from a can, Sausages, and toasted bread with butter with a cup of tea. But what I looked forward to was the Beans. I would always go on and order an extra helping because there is something sinfully delicious about a toasted piece of buttered bread slathered with baked beans, with a crispy hash brown & bacon on the side. And, before you ask, on days when I missed home, I would also try eating them with rice, and that is something you never want to do 😑😑. The morning would end with a weekly shop of ready-to-eat meals & a few cans of beans to microwave and eat at will.
Of course, now, I wonder how I used to be so skinny after having that much sugar and salt in a single serving. But, in those lonely days and cold winter nights, it became an integral part of my life and one that got me through. I went through numerous cans of beans, utterly devoid of any sort of guilt.
Nowadays, I make my version of Baked beans at home with some Mushrooms or Cheese for a fancy twist. While what I make is delicious and nourishing, I somehow can’t help but remember that sinful blue can of Beans that gave me comfort when I needed it the most.
Recipe Cooking time 25 minutes, serves 2
1 can organic Cannelloni or Butter beans (400 gms)
2 medium Tomato finely chopped
1 small Onion finely chopped
1 Tbsp Tomato concentrated tomato paste or ketchup
1/2 tsp smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp freshly chopped or dried Parsley
1 tbsp Sour cream OR hummus
Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped Onions and saute till the Onions turn translucent.
Add fresh tomatoes and the paste and salt. Cover and cook on a medium flame for 5 - 7 minutes.
Drain the water from the canned beans and add them to the pan.
Add some smoked Paprika, and freshly ground Pepper, and adjust the seasoning.
Cover and cook for a few minutes till you preheat the oven at 160 degrees C.
Place the Beans in small ovenproof bowls of ceramic dishes. Top up the Cheese and sprinkle some Parsley and bake for 7 - 10 minutes till the Cheese starts to bubble over. Garnish with some more Parsley, sour cream, or hummus and serve hot with toasted bread and enjoy this delicious treat.
Tip: You can add sliced Mushrooms, Capsicums, Bacon, etc to make the beans more delicious.