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Baked Beans

Baked Beans

375g dried Borlotti or Red Kidney beans, soaked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 rashers thick streaky bacon, cut into 1cm wide strips
2 red peppers, cut into 2cm squares
1 green pepper, cut into 2cm squares
1 400g can peeled tomatoes, don’t drain
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons maple syrup, treacle, golden syrup or honey

# Preheat oven to 160C. Rinse soaked beans, then put into saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then strain and rinse with cold water.
# Heat oil in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole and sauté onion, garlic, carrot and bacon. After 5 minutes, when onion has softened and bacon is sizzling, add red and green peppers.
# Puree tomatoes and juice in a food processor and add to casserole with beans and remaining ingredients, except maple syrup. Mix well. Add sufficient cold water to cover beans by 4 cm. Transfer casserole, tightly sealed, into oven and bake for at least 4 hours.
# Stir well after 2 hours, checking that it is still reasonably sloppy (if too dry, add a little water and reduce oven temp).
# After 4 hours, stir in maple syrup, extra salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. The beans should now be in a rich sauce. If too thick, add a little water; if too runny and the beans are tender, increase oven temp and continue to cook.

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