Autumn comfort food recipe : star anise and gammon baked beans.
Well, it really has been an odd year. Cold and rainy for 6 months. Then warm and dry for four months. Now, we’re back to usual. Cold, dark October leading into rainy, drizzly, windy November.
It shouldn’t be a shock, but I had fooled myself into thinking that summer was usual. And there was none of the normal slow descent into autumn. One week it was shirtsleeves weather, the next warm coats. And now we are almost in winter.
So, I need some serious cheering up and something to look forward to everyday. Enter lots and lots of happy music, even more origami, endless cups of chai tea and war comforting food like something to look forward to at the end of the day like baked beans.
There is something really comforting about baked beans. Brings us back to childhood I guess. But of course, my tastebuds have changed a bit – I don’t like things to be quite so sweet, and I like a little extra in my beans. In this case, it is gammon (adds an amazing flavour throughout the dish, and every now and again, you get one piece, rather like buried treasure) and star anise, which is one of my current favourite spices.
So please find my grown-up baked beans; healthier, tasty and seriously comforting – a major help to get through winter and certainly perfect for Bornfire Night.
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Star Anise And Gammon Baked Beans
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely sliced
- 1 smoked gammon steak diced
- 1 star anise
- 2.5 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp chipotle paste
- 1 tsp smoked paprika optional
- 480 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 2 X 400g (14 oz) tins beans drained
- Preheat the oven to fan assisted 120C / 140C / 275 F / gas 1.
- Heat oil in an oven ready casserole dish and fry the onions for 5 mins until softened.
- Add the diced gammon and fry for a couple of mins until cooked through.
- Add the star anise, cloves, tomato puree, maple syrup, chipotle and smoked paprika (if using) and mix well.
- Then stir in the chicken stock and beans and switch off the heat.
- Cover the casserole pot, transfer into the preheated oven and bake for 3 hrs turning half way through.
- Serve with plenty of crusty bread.
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