Introduction: Stove-top 'Boston Baked Beans' Variation - English Breakfast Side Dish

About: I am an escapee from modern life, now living by the sea in a forest garden in France. After over 20 years industrial experience, I quit my managerial position to study for a degree in Engineering. That done I …

If you eat English Breakfast out then you are usually offered a basic traditional egg and bacon with a host of optional extra side dishes, one of these will be baked beans and it will be out of a tin.

This then is the home-made version and at the moment because I have torn muscles due to over-enthusiastic gardening, I am using this dish as a medicinal and palatable way to absorb collagen in the way of bone broth. I'll add this recipe at the end for those who are interested and/or injured (you have my sympathy). However, you can also buy bone broth ready-made.

All the ingredients I use are organic.

Step 1: Beans, Beans, Beans - Choosing & Preparing

There are several kinds of beans you could use for this dish. Here in France we use Borlotti/Cranberry Beans for baked beans and soups. These beans are really striking but the streaks sadly get lost in the cooking. Other famous beans for this recipe are the Great Northern Bean and the Navy Bean

I prepare several pounds of beans from scratch and then freeze them. At the moment it is the season here for half-dried haricot beans, so we can cook these without soaking. However, mainly we grow on/buy dried beans and then use the fast soak method.


I find the fast soak is actually a much better way to prepare the beans than the overnight soak. Firstly because, for us it seems to make the beans more easy to digest because it breaks down the complex sugars aka oligosaccharides. Also because it means you don't have to plan ahead and/or end up forgetting to soak them.


Rinse the beans and then place them in a large pot with the ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part beans.

Bring water to the boil.

Cook the beans for 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Cover with a lid and leave to soak for 1 hour.


Drain the liquid from the beans.

Add water so that the beans are covered with 1" or 2.5cm of liquid.

Bring to the boil.

Boil rapidly for at least 15 minutes with the lid off.

Lower the heat and cover with lid and then simmer for around an hour or until the beans are tender.


These are now ready to use in the recipe



1lb or 450g of Cooked Beans

1 Medium Onion

1½ cups or 350 ml Tomato Purée

½ cup or 125 ml of Stock - this can be vegetable or meat according to your taste

2 tbsp Rapadura/Sucanat Sugar

Butter or Coconut Oil

Seasoning to taste;

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper,


Cayenne Pepper


Finely chop the onion and sauté in butter until soft.

Add the sugar.

Add the tomato purée and the stock.

Bring to the boil.

Stir and then add the seasoning to taste.

Add the beans.

Cook gently for at least 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 3: Bone Broth

We made our bean bone broth from pigs' trotters as pork and beans are a traditional mix and trotters have a really excellent provision of gelatin and collagen. You can buy the pigs' trotters whole or sometimes the Butcher will split them and sell them in halves.

If you either can't face or can't get trotters then you can buy organic grass-fed beef powder and make up your stock from this.

Of course my way is cheaper, certified organic pigs' trotters cost me the equivalent of $2 each but there is a lot more work involved!

Rinse the trotters in cold water and place in a heavy bottomed pan.

Add water to cover.

Cook on a low heat for 6 to 8 hours.

I then take out the trotters from the stock, dot them with butter, season with salt and pepper and roast them at 350°F or 180°C until the skin turns crispy (around 45 minutes to 1 hour).

You can then remove and eat the 'crackling' crispy skin and some of the meat and then return the rest to the stock pot. The roasting will now give the stock a richer depth of flavour and you can now also add some vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, swedes and parsnips. However, to use in baked beans I just make a meat broth.

To make a more rounded broth with more types of collagen, I also add anything else I may have such as a ham bone or the remains of a roast chicken or a beef bone.

Season the whole and leave to cook slowly for another few hours.

You can either keep reheating it - as chefs in restaurants do with a stock pot or you can freeze it.

Enjoy and Get Well Soon!!! Andy

Side Dishes Challenge

Runner Up in the
Side Dishes Challenge