From a young age, I have loved baked beans out of a tin. They are great with toast for breakfast lunch and dinner. Recently, many cafes have started doing their own ‘homemade’ baked beans which has presented all sort of interesting variations.
But some of the most amusing deviations from tradition that I have come across were in the UK where they certainly love their beans and their prepackaged food. When I lived there, E and I were often tempted by some strange food offering in the supermarkets. Baked bean pizza was one. But even more bizarre was chocolate baked beans (I kept the label because I was so amused by it). It was good for a gimmick but was one of the weirdest taste sensations and one tin was more than enough.
However, a few weeks back Ashley at Eat Me Delicious shared a new take on baked beans – baked bean soup! I made it last week for a quick weeknight meal and it was brilliant. Comparing it with a baked bean recipe that I am fond of, it seemed it had the typical flavours of baked beans – mustard, molasses, tomato, vinegar – but it was a lot quicker because it didn’t have to develop a rich thick sauce. Everything is just cooked through. While it is nice to let flavours stew and deepen, it is helpful to have an alternative for dinner in a hurry.
Ashley suggests adjusting the ingredients to taste. I increased the molasses, mustard and garlic, but downplayed the chilli, which is all reflected in my adaption of the recipe below. This intensely flavoured soup is great with homemade bread and is excellent for lunch the next day.
Baked Bean Soup
(Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special via Eat Me Delicious)
Serves 4 to 6
1 tsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 stalk of celery diced
2 large carrots, diced
½ tsp chili paste
2 cups water
1 x 400g tin (14oz) diced tomatoes
1 x 425g tin (15oz) white beans
2 tbsp molasses
4 tsp seeded french mustard
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, saute the onions in oil for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, and chili paste. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the water, tomatoes, beans, mustard, tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, and soy sauce. Cover and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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