Traditionally, this is made with beans cooked from scratch – and that’s a cheaper option – but if you use good canned or jarred beans, it’s very good and very quick. The key to Diana Henry's recipe is to let the beans sit with the other ingredients – bacon, onion and garlic – for a while so that they absorb the juices.
- Prepare10 mins
- Cook20 mins
- Total time30 mins
- PlusPreparation time 10 minutes + resting
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the bacon until golden, but still soft, 3-4 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon, add the onion and cook gently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, then add the bacon back to the pan and removed from the heat.
Drain and rinse 1 can of beans, and ½ the second can. Keep the other ½ in its juices. Stir all the beans into the onion and bacon mix and season generously. Gently heat and cook for about 10 minutes so the beans absorb the other flavours.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Add the wine vinegar and sugar to the pan, heat the beans through, then stir in the soured cream and heat. Don’t let the dish boil. Add 2 tbsp water to loosen, if needed. Stir the dill in, if using, then serve with the chicken.
It’s important to hold onto some of the thick cooking liquor from the cans or jars. That also becomes flavoured and creates that unctuousness you get with home-cooked beans.
If making the chicken and the beans, you’ll only need one 300ml tub of soured cream to cover both recipes.