Bacon with home-made baked beans

OK, so this is really a recipe for home-made baked beans with a bit of meat, bacon, thrown in to keep it honest.

I regularly serve my boys (and me) tinned baked beans for Saturday lunch. They are healthy and a great source of energy. But the tinned variety are  bit bland despite their popularity and the attempt by Watties to spice them up with all sorts of added ingredients.

We had been lent a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new bi-monthly magazine – the July/August 2009 edition. In the back tucked away in an article on Tasmania is a great recipe for home-made baked beans.


250g dried white beans, soaked overnight (or 250g tinned haricot, cannellini or butter beans, drained) **
50ml olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tomato puree
200ml red wine
1 400g tin tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons brown sugar 
sweet or hot paprika (optional)

** I used two tins – one of butter beans and one of cannelinni beans


Place dried beans in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Remember to soak these overnight before doing this! Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until cooked. Drain and reserve.

If you are using the tinned beans then start here:

Preheat an oven to 180ºC. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Cook gently for 10 minutes or until soft.

Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, brown sugar and beans.

Fill the tomato tin with water and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil. Transfer to a covered baking dish and bake in the oven for 1.5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. If necessary add more water.

When tender season to taste and add paprika if desired.

This dish is perfect eating over several days. Given the effort required it might be best to double or triple the recipe and either bottle or freeze what you don’t use.

My boys loved this with crispy bacon. Delicious.

Baked beans and bacon - the day after
Baked beans and bacon - the day after


  1. Christine Hickey

    Yum. I’ve been hoping for a cowboys beans recipe for a while, especially one I can make in bulk. I have one gluten free boy so Watties canned are no good for us, although Oak are but too bland I say. One thing we can all agree on and it agrees with all of us is crispy bacon! The other boy is about the same age as your two I think (12) and is eating and eating and growing and growing. He has a paper round early on two mornings. This’d be a good post paper round warming brekkie. Beans are good honest tucker, and so good with a bit of sizzled pig. Thanks Alan.

    1. Alan

      Hi Christine – great to hear from you – this is a great recipe – it seems the longer you cook them the better they are. I had every intention of doing a whole heap of it and then either preserving or freezing it. Delicious.

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