Tuscan thyme baked beans
Once you’ve got this simmering away it’s a low maintenance wonder that blips quietly making amazing smells and then provides an incredible supper for everyone. The beautifully Tuscan borlotti bean is the highest plant source of protein. Lots of fibre, B vitamins and folate. This recipe is a treasure and it has a couple of secret, unexpected ingredients that really add another depth of flavour.
1 large red onion, sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup borlotti beans – soaked overnight
1 cup haricot beans – soaked overnight
3 tins plum tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup sunblush tomatoes, finely chopped
¼ cup blackstrap molasses
Heat the oil in a large, deep (preferably cast-iron) pan. Add the garlic, onion, thyme and celery and sweat on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until very soft.
Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan and turn the heat up as you crush them against the side of the pan to break up into smaller pieces. Bring to the boil and add half of the stock, stirring together. Bubble on a low heat with lid partially covering for 1 hour.
Stir very occasionally to prevent sticking. Pour both of the beans into the tomato sauce and the rest of the stock, combining them all. Bring to the boil and then leave on a low simmer again for another 1-1½ hours, until the sauce is thickening up. Add in the molasses and the sunblush tomatoes and leave for another 30 minutes bubbling away.
Serve on a baked sweet potato, some crusty bread, or in a bowl by itself.
From ‘Lizzie Loves Healthy Family Food: Delicious and Nutritious Meals You’ll All Enjoy’ by Lizzie King, published by Trapeze. Photography by Charlotte Kibbles