baked beans
Serves: serves 4
  • 375 grams dried borlotti beans, soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours (ideally overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 rashers bacon, chopped into squares
  • 2 small red capsicum, seeded and chopped into 2cm squares
  • 1 small green capsicum, seeded and chopped into 2cm squares
  • 1 x 400 gram tin tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 heaped teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roughly crushed
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Rinse soaked beans, then put them into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then strain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Heat oil in a large enamelled cast iron pot and fry onion, bacon and garlic and carrot until the onion is softened and lightly browned.
  3. Add the red and green capsicum, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, paprika, and crushed coriander seeds. Mix well and add enough cold water to cover the beans by 4 centimetres. Bring to the boil and cover with the lid.
  4. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for approximately 4 hours.
  5. After 2 hours, stir well, checking that it is still reasonably sloppy. If it is too dry, add a little water and reduce the oven temperature slightly.
  6. After 4 hours, stir in the maple syrup, and season with plenty of salt and pepper. The beans should now be in a rich sauce. If too thick, add a little extra water; if too runny and the beans are tender, increase the oven temperature and continue to cook.
  7. Check seasoning before serving.
  8. Serve with either a green salad; or toast and a dollop of sour cream.
Make sure you check the flavour before serving. Beans tend to need quite a bit of salt, usually around 1 teaspoon.
Recipe by Villiers Brown at