North Carolina-style baked beans

Barbecued pork, slaw and beans come as a trio in North Carolina. These are sticky, with a dash of sugar and spice. 

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus overnight soaking
  • Cooking time: 3 hours
  • Total time: 3 hours 10 minutes, plus overnight soaking

Serves: 6 as a side

Ingredients

400g dried haricot beans
150g smoked bacon rashers
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
pinch ground allspice
1 tsp English mustard powder
5 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig
splash Worcestershire sauce

Method

1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes; drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 2. Finely chop the bacon and fry in a lidded casserole until just golden – for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the beans and remaining ingredients; season.

3. Add 400ml water, bring to a gentle simmer, cover, then transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour. Stir in another 400ml water, recover, then bake for another hour. If the beans look too wet, uncover and return to the oven until some of the liquid has evaporated and a thick sauce coats the beans. Remove the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme sprig before serving.