I stopped eating baked beans a while ago as the amount of sugar in a tin of baked beans can be around 3 teaspoons which is rather a lot for a savoury item. I would also love to eat them on thick slabs of white bread which probably also contained sugar. Bread is one of those items on the supermarket shelves that you can’t quite get one’s head around that there could be sugar in there as it isn’t at all sweet. Have a look at the ingredients list before you buy as there is sugar or glucose in many of them.
I am not completely sugar free in my diet but I try to stick to no refined sugar when I can. This way of thinking also stops me from eating a lot of processed food. A lot of foods have added sugar to help with the flavour, if you cook it yourself you know exactly what is in there and can almost always get a better taste and freshness as a result.
BUT.. when does someone who works 5 days a week, has a social life and might want to take some exercise manage to find the time to make everything from scratch? Well, once you get used to making a few things, you then have the ingredients in your house and this recipe is almost as easy as reaching for that tin of baked beans to go with your baked potato. Proper comfort food!
2 tsp herbs de Provence
(or 2 tsp fresh thyme and 2 tsp oregano)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
2 tsp smoked paprika
850 ml tinned tomatoes or passata
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 x 400g tins of haricot beans
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp honey or maple syrup (add more if you prefer sweeter)
400 ml chicken or vegetable stock
Finely chop the carrot and onion and add to a non stick sauce pan with a little vegetable oil and soften for 10 minutes along with the crushed garlic. Then add the herbs, spices, tomato puree and cook down for a further 5 minutes. Then add the stock, tinned tomatoes, honey and allow to simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes. The sauce should reduce in size and thicken up.
Drain and rinse your haricot beans and add to the sauce and allow to simmer for a further 30 minutes or longer if you wish your sauce to be even thicker.
Serve with a baked potato with a lump of butter and large crack of black pepper. I also freeze bags of the beans for emergency last minute suppers.