My wife’s side of the family (Irish) loves homemade baked beans. It’s a family tradition that her Uncle Bill makes the baked beans every year for the family 4th of July picnic. Nowadays, I like to make our own style, and I kicked it up by incorporating some spice to work against the beans’ natural blandness.
What are Baked Beans?
Baked beans are a dish consisting of beans, occasionally baked yet, despite the name, typically cooked, in a sauce. Many commercially canned baked beans are made from haricot beans, also known as a navy bean in a sauce. In Ireland and also Great Britain, tomato sauce is mostly used when cooking.
How to Make Homemade Gordon Ramsay Baked Beans and Potato Cakes
My favorite dutch oven for making Homemade Baked Beans is Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven. The iconic Le Creuset Dutch oven is indispensable in the kitchens of home cooks and professional chefs alike. Long recognized for its strength and durability, cast iron is the prime material for slow-cooking, braising, and roasting, thanks to its ability to maintain even consistent heat.
1. Brown Bacon-Pancetta in Casserole Dish
Place an ovenproof saucepan or casserole dish over medium heat and add a dash of oil. Once hot, add the thick bacon/pancetta, a little pepper, and the chill and fry until cooked through but not crisping.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the onion and cook over low heat until completely tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in half the sugar, then add the vinegar. Boil for 1 minute, then add Worcestershire sauce to taste.
2. Add Tomatoes and Beans
Stir in the tomato sauce and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining sugar, and a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4–5 minutes.
Add the beans and cook for a further 5–10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the beans are really soft and tender.
3. Make Potato Cakes
Mash the boiled potatoes until smooth (or use a potato ricer), add the butter and mix well. Add 4 tablespoons of the flour along with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well. The aim is to form a dough, so add a little more flour if necessary.
Using your hands, roll pieces of the dough into balls just larger than a golf ball. Place them on a lightly floured work surface and flatten them into little cakes about 1⁄2 in thick. Chill for 20 minutes.
4. Frying Potato Cakes
Place a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and add a dash of olive oil. When hot, fry the potato cakes on either side (in batches if necessary) until golden and crisping slightly.
While cooking, season with a pinch of salt and add a small knob of butter to the pan. Drain the cakes on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the beans as necessary, adding a little more vinegar and/or Worcestershire sauce, as well as salt and pepper.