Trying (and for now failing) to recreate British Heinz baked beans
Baked beans should have been the easiest part. When I set off on this crazy Full English Breakfast challenge I figured I'd spend most of my time stuffing sausages , or learning how to cure a completely different kind of bacon . The beans should have required a few hours on lazy Saturday afternoon. The one problem -- the only problem -- was finding a recipe.
There are no recipes. Zero. Or at least none that I could trust. Every single stupid recipe wanted me to bring smoked pork or maple syrup to the party. But that's not right. See, English baked beans are a completely different thing than American baked beans. That sweet porky, smoky flavor that we most associate with baked beans in this country is completely absent. The beans I wanted are served in a simple tomato sauce that is just slightly sweet and a tad tart. I have fond memories of the beans, but apparently no one else has.
Each time I made a batch I ended up with the heavy, gloopy sauce you see on the right plate. What I wanted were the Heinz beans on the left. This ubiquitous brand is about as gourmet as simple can of Campbell's chicken soup. But when I thought of beans for my Full British Breakfast, it's what I wanted. And no matter what I tried, I could never get there. Folks, I need help.
I dabbled in a massive Heston Blumenthal recipe from the BBC , along with a simpler recipe from the Good Food Channel . I tried batches made with pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, and even ketchup. I got caught up on finding something called "passata," which is some kind of pureed tomato product you can buy in jars in England. I tried cooking them in water first and then mixing them with the sauce and baking them. Hell, I even tried cooking the beans straight in the tomato sauce.
Each time I ended up with beans that were chalking and heavy, mixed with an overly thick tomato sauce. It was too much.
I wanted the insubstantial sauce of Heinz. It's slightly viscous, but not heavy. Perhaps you just can't make this from scratch, since it's made in a huge factory. Maybe my homemade beans were "better;" they certainly had more flavor. But they didn't taste right. That bugged the hell out of me.
And, honestly, I can't make another batch of beans unless I get some help. I'm so sick of beans I am having trouble even writing these words now. I swear, it's not for a lack of trying: I've purchased pounds of beans, and simmered them for hours. I need your help. If you a British or just know what you're talking about, I'd really appreciate it. Otherwise, I'm just going to serve this simple can of Heinz, which doesn't sound so bad these days.Food, DIY, Baked beans, BBC, Bean, Beans, Beans, Beans, Breakfast foods, British, British cuisine, Canned food, Cuisine, Food and drink, Full English Breakfast, H. J. Heinz Company, Heinz, heinz beans, Heston Blumenthal, New England cuisine, Quebec cuisine, Sauce, Tomato sauce, United Kingdom