Apparently pork and beans was the first convenience food, and is readily available canned. Well, although this is the ultimate lazy meal (and does involve the opening of two cans), I like to think my version is tastier than white beans and rendered pork fat, and certainly healthier. It entails very little more than a bit of chopping, a bit of tin opening, and a bit of stirring. And because it’s all made in one pot, it keeps the dreaded washing up to a minimum. Perfect for a pretty terrible housewife like me.
To make pork and beans, you’ll need:
1 large (or 2 small) red onions, roughly chopped.
2 sticks of celery, chopped.
Peppers, whatever colour you like, (I used one yellow and one orange). sliced.
A pack of nice quality sausages. You can leave them whole if you like, but I like to chop mine into thirds, because then I can fool myself into thinking there is more meat there than there really is. I do mean, good quality sausages though, nothing that is mainly bread – it just won’t be the same.
1 tin of flageolet beans, drained and rinsed.
1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
2 tbsp barbecue sauce, or Jamaican ketchup, or Reggae Reggae sauce, whichever you like best.
1 tbsp runny honey.
1/2 tsp paprika (ideally smoked)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Fresh coriander (cilantro), to garnish.
1) Fry the onion, celery and peppers together in a large pan in some olive oil. Try not to let them catch, at this point you just want them to turn translucent and soften – which should take about five minutes on a medium/high heat.
2) Add the sausages to the pan, and allow to brown slightly, otherwise they’ll just look a bit boiled. Allowing them to brown a bit will encourage some of the fat to run out as well, adding flavour.
3) Whilst the pork is browning, you can add your beans. I have used a can of flageolet beans, because they are my favourite. But this would work well with canellini beans, borlotti beans, haricot beans – take your pick.
4) Now is the time to make the sauce. Open your tinned tomatoes, and pour the contents into in a bowl or jug. Half fill the can with water, swirl about to get all the tomato juice, and add to the tomatoes. Then squeeze 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce. If you don’t have barbecue sauce, then you can use Reggae Reggae sauce, or Jamaican ketchup or chipotle sauce. This is to give the sauce a sweet smokiness. Also add a tablespoon of honey and give it all a good stir. Add to the pan of pork and beans and give everything a good stir.
5) The last step is to add ground ginger and paprika to the pan, a half teaspoon of each. Allow this sweet smokey mixture to bubble and reduce until the sauce has thickened. It should take approximately twenty minutes. Dish it up and garnish with some fresh coriander. I love to serve this with hunks of freshly baked bread, slathered with butter, to sop up the sauce.