Sunday 25 May 2008

Baked Bean Soup

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.

On the stereo:
Colin Meloy sings live: Colin Meloy


  1. I'm amazed - I'm from the UK and know Asda but have never seen chocolate baked beans!!! Now that is wierd. Don't think they make them anymore. What did they taste like?

    Your soup sounds lovely. Perfect for a quick dinner.

  2. My brother would go crazy over that soup recipe.

    And, I love the giraffe.

    Cheers :)

  3. Baked bean pizza? Chocolate beans? No way! That's hillarious. :)

  4. I'm embarrased to be from a nation which produced chocolate baked beans. Fortunately it doesn't seem to have been a lasting fad! The soup looks delicious though - will definitely give it a try.

  5. Great idea for a soup that's both easy AND delicious. And those chocolate beans don't sound all that weird to me. . . kinda reminds me of Mexican mole (maybe they would have been better with a little spice added!)

  6. That really does sound and look good, I love bean soup and will have to try this.

    In the US there is an old-fashioned candy called Boston Baked Beans, they only look like beans though...they are really candy!

  7. I would definitely have purchased the chocolate baked beans just to try them, now I'm quite curious :)

  8. Chocolate baked beans? There are some things that are just wrong, wrong, WRONG.

    In contrast - your soup looks delicious.

  9. Chocolate and baked beans?? How weird! Though people add chocolate to their chili so I guess it's not too far off. Glad you liked the baked bean soup! I need to find some more good bean soup recipes.

  10. Thanks Katie - I think I bought it almost 10 years ago so seems it just didn't last - it really was horribly sweet

    thanks Kristen - I'd advise making a double batch for him in that case as it is not a huge recipe (and it freezes well if there is any left)

    Thanks Wendy - some of the things supermarkets try to flog us - you gotta laugh!

    thanks Lysy - yes great soup which will last much longer than chocolate baked beans

    thanks Ricki - if this was a mole-style beans it probably wouldn't be as good as home but asda wasn't even that sophisticated - it was just sickly sweet (I know you have had success with bean brownies but this isn't that sort of thing)

    thanks Lidian - boston baked beans sounds bizarre - will look out for it (is it on your blog?)

    Thanks LisaRene - I am glad I got to try them but I think we threw out most of the tin because they were so awful

    Thanks Kathryn - yes the chocolate baked beans were very wrong

    Thanks Ashley - great recipe! Isa has a great mole which I'd recommend - it has beans and cocoa. After I made it I realised it is meant as a soup which explained why it was so liquidy (it is under stews and chilli non carnes in my index)

  11. This is a keeper! Of course, you know that I would increase the heat :)

  12. Being in England we pretty much live on baked beans. Just joking, though they are a regular post workout lunch in out house. Your recipe sounds really good and *so* healthy.

    I've never seen these chocolate versions mind! If you try really hard I suppose you could convince yourself that Asda were thinking about mexican chillis and mole style dishes. Very odd though.

  13. thanks Lisa - I know you would like it spicy - Ashley had it more spicy and E just drowned it in tabasco!

    thanks Sophie - I sometimes think I could live on baked beans but not the chocolate kind (they were more dessert-gone-bad than anything approaching mole)

  14. Am very pleased you kept that chocolate baked bean label.

    Who the hell would have thought of that? (though, I think Ricki is onto something...or at least a reasoning behind the concept!).

    Bookmarking this. Yum.

  15. thanks Lucy - I am now pleased I kept the label too - good illustration and proof after all the incredulous comments :-)


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