Baked beans and bacon

Preparation info

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  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

Do not wake up in the morning and spontaneously decide to have this for breakfast. Instead, wake up yesterday morning and decide to have it for breakfast today. (Okay, okay, or wake up today and have it tomorrow). Home-made baked beans are a billion times better than the canned variety, but with the same alchemy of sweet and smoky flavours.


  • 500 g (1 lb) white beans
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 thick slices of smoky bacon, speck or kaiserfleisch
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400 g (14 oz) canned tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 extra tbsp brown sugar


Cover beans with cold water and soak for 6 to 8 hours.

Drain and place beans in a large pot. Cover with cold water, add the onion spiked with the cloves, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1½ hours or until tender. Drain the beans, and discard onion and water.

Heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Cut rind from bacon and cut into cubes. Cook bacon and chopped onion in the base of a lidded, ovenproof casserole, until the bacon crisps slightly and the onion is soft. Add tomatoes, brown sugar, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, sea salt and pepper and mix well. Add the drained beans and 2 cups of cold water, stir, then cover tightly.

Bake in the oven for 2 hours, then give it a big stir, adding a little water if it seems dry. Sprinkle with extra brown sugar, and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes, until glazed on top. Serve with, or on, thick slices of grilled bread.