Kay’s Covid Cookery Class No. 3. Proper baked beans. (Insert hoarded toilet paper gag here).

I hesitated to share this one. Because toilet humour and recipes make uncomfortable kitchen and bathroom-fellows. But, hey, desperate times/desperate measures and all that.

It seems that there has been a run (geddit?) on tins of baked beans. IMHO the most disgusting convenience food ever; slimy, excessively sweetened yet acidic, too salty, overcooked…..

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In contrast, the last thing to disappear from the shelves is dried beans, because most people have no idea what to do with them or have no time to cook them. Well, now you have plenty of time, so, rush out now and buy ’em all like a selfish hoarder, because here is a recipe for your own baked beans… also useful for using up all that tomato sauce that you made on day 1 which you won’t eat because you are already sick to death of pasta. Or, if you are one of those people who has had a few packs of dried beans in the cupboard for several years because you were once going to be a vegan, now is the time to use them.

This recipe is especially useful for those of you running out of space for toilet roll, and/or whose digestion is sluggish from looking at your screen all day while eating frozen pizza.

Ingredients:

500 g of the larger beans (lentils, mung beans and the split types are a bit small, adzuki are borderline, pinto, mung, kidney, black, broad, lima, garbanzo, chickpeas, blackeye are all good.)

The sauce.

For the sauce, use the tomato recipe from day 1

For extra flavour in the sauce, chop up a couple of rashers of streaky bacon and fry these with the onions and garlic at step 1 of the recipe, and add a teaspoon of harissa powder with the herbs.

(Or add a finely chopped chilli – a good excuse to do even more hand-washing before you touch anything else.)

What to do. …roughly speaking:

Soak the beans in plenty of cold water for 12 hours (or overnight).

Drain and rinse them, then place in a large saucepan with lots more fresh water, bring to boil for about 10 minutes, then turn down to a simmer for about an hour. The cooking time depends on the size and density of the beans; adzuki probably only need half an hour. You’re aiming for almost cooked but still slightly chewy. If you notice that the beans have used up most of the water, add a little more.

Preheat your oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.

Spread the strained, cooked beans out on the bottom of an ovenproof dish or deep roasting tray (the beans will still be a little bit hard) and pour the sauce over them. Mix it around so that the beans are well covered and coated in sauce and cover tightly with foil.

Place in the hot oven for about 15 minutes and then turn it down to 180ºC/350ºF/ Gas 4 and cook for another 60-75 minutes.

By the way, if you are looking for other ways to waste your time while not interacting with other humans, there is an online quiz to help you “Discover Your Bean Personality”, which claims to reveal which bean you are most like. I kid you not.

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