Like many good recipes, this one came to me through friends, and yet for no good reason lay half-forgotten in my still-to-try pile for too long. More’s the pity, since this is a tasty, grown-up’s version of baked beans that goes well with cheese on toast (as we had it here), and fills the house with wonderfully warming, comforting slow-food aromas.

Danny, the recipe’s author, suggests that you could omit the chilli according to taste (I included it and do recommend it), add some mustard powder and a tablespoon of molasses for something closer to boston beans, or even add some bacon or chorizo with the onion and garlic for a meaty version. I also imagine it might partner well with some hearty sausages. But here’s the vege version as we had it, pretty much as I received it way back when.

Danny’s Baked Beans

300g dried Great Northern Beans (or similar dried white bean) (about 2 cups, soaked overnight in cold water, or for 8 hours in boiled water)
450g tin chopped tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 generous glass red wine
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Good handful fresh rosemary leaves
1 chopped hot chilli

Drain the beans and discard the soaking water. Boil the beans in fresh water until tender (can take up to an hour depending on the beans).

You can do the next steps in a flame-proof casserole dish or in a saucepan and then transfer it into a covered oven-proof dish.

Saute the onions, garlic, rosemary and chilli in the olive oil until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, wine and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Add the cooked beans, and season well with salt and pepper.

If needed, transfer to an oven-proof dish. Add extra water to ensure that the beans are just covered with liquid. Cover the dish, and bake at 180C for about an hour, or until the beans are very soft and the liquid slightly thickened.

Great with grilled cheese on toast.

Yield: serves 4