Friday, 15 May 2009

Boston Baked Beans with Pork Belly

Having ordered an organic meat box delivery from The Well Hung Meat Co whilst visiting the Real Food Festival last week, our box duly arrived today and I decided to cook the pork belly slices for tonight’s dinner. I had been a little worried that the stated 300 gram portion would make for somewhat small portions for 2 adults so was disappointed that a) the pack size was only 290 grams and b) one of the slices still had the bone attached, making the actual meat portion even lower.

I have a long list of recipes for pork belly bookmarked but none suitable for pork belly slices. The twitter food blogger community and the BBC Food Chat board rose to the occasion with several suggestions including marinated grilled or oven-roasted, Vietnamese caramel pork and Chinese red braised pork. But the suggestion that won the day) was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Boston Baked Beans recommended by St John Restaurant.

As I didn’t have time to soak dried haricot beans overnight, I opted for tinned and I substituted double the volume of milder French mustard in place of stronger English. HFW makes it clear that the recipe is very flexible suggesting that pork can be replaced with chorizo, white haricot beans with cannellini, kidney or borlotti and that the tomatoes can be left out completely! The ingredients below are what I used; you can follow the link above to HFW’s original recipe.

This recipe was absolutely delicious and I’ll definitely do it again!

Boston Baked Beans with Pork Belly
2 x 400 gram tins of white haricot beans in water (I used Biona organic beans)
220 grams pork belly cut into pieces (I’d prefer 300 to 400 grams next time)
50g soft brown sugar
3 tbsp black treacle
2 tbsp French mustard
200g chopped tomatoes (ie ½ a tin)
4 cloves
8-10 shallots peeled but left whole
Black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 140C/ 275F/ gas mark 1.

  • Tip the contents of the tins of haricot beans, liquid and all, into a large casserole, on the stove, medium heat

  • Cut the pork belly into small pieces; mine were about 1cm x 1cm x 4cm. I removed the pork belly rind but you could leave it on.

  • Add pork to the beans.

  • Stir in the sugar, treacle, mustard and tomatoes.

  • Press a clove into four of the shallots onions and add all the shallots to the casserole.

  • Season with pepper.

  • Cover and pop into the oven for about 2.5 - 3 hours

  • Check the seasoning before serving, perhaps with some fresh, home-made bread or over a jacket potato.


Jessica said...

I made something a lot like that back in January, only with the traditional Boston recipe for the beans (which doesn't use tomatoes). I didn't grow up here, but I assumed my husband would complain if I didn't use the traditional recipe. His opinion: "it's really good, but could you put in some tomatoes next time?" It turns out that he grew up eating Heinz beans - his mom (who is from Liverpool originally) didn't like the sweeter Boston style.

I love the sound of the cloves in your recipe; I'll have to try that!

Would you be willing to share your list of pork belly links? I get a lot of it from my CSA (I told them I liked it) and could use some more ideas.

Kavey said...

Jessica, would be happy to share links, I'm away at the moment so as soon as I get back I'll look them up for you.

Eversfield Organic said...

Nice Post. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Looking forward to trying it later today.