Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Humble Home-Cooked Beans

Do you like baked beans? If you're like me, the only kind of baked beans that you know about are the kind that come in a can and taste maple-y sweet and are, yes, let's admit it, totally addictive. In exploring a new kind of baked bean, the home-made kind, I came across many different options. Pineapple and molasses, bacon and apple cider vinegar, beer and dried berries .. there were so many options. But I wanted to start simple. Then, I remembered the list. Yes, the list. Towards the end of my March break, I had made a list of all the cooking that I wanted to do before the summer, and Jamie Oliver's baked-beans was on it. I was flipping through one of his cookbooks and somehow, those creamy comforting beans caught my attention. A quick ingredient scan told me that they were totally doable.

These beans are the perfect thing to eat on a rainy, cool spring Sunday afternoon while watching a funny movie and relaxing. The beans cooked on the stove top, bubbling away with bay leaves, celery, onion, garlic, thyme and a couple new potatoes. The funny and genius part of this recipe is that when the beans are tender, you drain some, but not all of the water, and smash up the potatoes and garlic. They get stirred back in the beans to make them creamy and delicious. A little splash of vinegar brightens everything up at the end, and the few glugs of olive oil that Jamie calls for is not even needed.

I can totally see myself adding a big dose of maple syrup at the end next time ... and yes, there will be a next time .. lots of next times...

Jamie Oliver's Humble Home Cooked Beans
adapted from Jamie at Home

1.5 cups of dried cranberry/borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
half a stalk of celery
a quarter on a white onion, roughly chopped
garlic clove, unpeeled
2 baby potatoes, quartered
salt and pepper to taste
1 splash of balsamic vinegar

1. Placed the soaked beans, bay leaf, thyme, celery, onion, garlic and potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Gently bring to a boil, and then simmer for about an hour, or until the beans are tender.

2. Remove about 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Drain the beans. Discard the thyme stems, celery and bay leaf. Remove the garlic and potatoes to a small bowl and give them a good smash.

3. Put the beans, reserved cooking liquid and potato garlic mixture back into the pot over low heat. Cook, stirring gently until the liquid has reduced a bit. Season well with salt and pepper. Add in a splash of balsamic vinegar, stir and serve.

Pssssst! We've started our own coffee adventure! Here's our first one ..

Coffee Tree: double americano, cappuccino and german chocolate cake flavoured coffee (soooo delicious!). And of course .. one of us walked away with 1/2 pound of beans .. French Caramel flavoured beans to be exact .. SO worth the trek to Jane/Bloor

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