Once in a blue moon, I have a beans-on-toast craving. There’s something eternally reassuring about slices of soggy toasted bread, bearing a burden of sweet beans. They bring to mind childhood lunches on cold afternoons in the school holidays, and for many they’re a go-to in times of emergency, idleness, or self-pitying illness.
I won’t dispute the institution that is baked beans on toast: but I will offer a slightly fancier version, for times when Heinz won’t cut it (and there are such times – I’m sorry, these beans are on a whole new level.) I’ve used liquid smoke here, although a good barbecue sauce will do the trick.
To serve two, you’ll need:
- a can of cannellini beans, mixed beans, or haricot beans
- a tin of chopped tomatoes
- one small brown onion
- two cloves of garlic
- half a small red chilli
- tomato puree
- a tsp each of cayenne pepper, chilli powder, smoked paprika, and cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- tbsp liquid smoke (I bought mine from Tesco)
- 1/2 tbsp agave syrup, or 1 tsp brown sugar
- tsp balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- salt and pepper.
Begin by finely chopping the onion, and gently cooking until softened. Add finely chopped garlic and chilli, and cook for two minutes, before adding the spices and frying for another minute.
Squirt in a tbsp of tomato puree, and stir well to incorporate. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, drained beans, liquid smoke, syrup, and vinegar, before leaving to simmer for half an hour, stirring regularly – you want a thick consistency.
Serve with potatoes and steamed veg – or, to pay homage to its roots, pile on top of crispy ciabatta and sprinkle with parsley and nutritional yeast. Now that’s beans on toast.