Ahhh Baked Beans. I think almost everyone has some memory or association with them, whether it was an after school snack or a favourite on the buffet breakfast… but not me. I was a fussy kid and the list of things I didn’t like was probably longer than what I would eat. I’ve grown out of a lot of my food fussiness but unless there is a literal apocalypse, I don’t think I’ll ever willingly reach for a can of baked beans.
It was completely surreal walking around the supermarket in mid-March, during the height of pandemic panic buying. Toilet paper was the first to go, then pasta and baked beans soon followed. As with most things, the homemade version is a million times better and that is what I want to share with you today!
Pulled pork baked beans.
Perfect on toast with a little crumbled fetta, but you could also serve alongside poached eggs and roasted tomato if you’re missing cafe style brunches. If you want to get technical, my version is actually not baked. It’s simmered in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy tomato sauce, thanks to flavour-packed ingredients like golden syrup, smoky paprika and cayenne pepper.
I had all of these ingredients already in my pantry so I think it’s great for times like these. However feel free to make substitutions if you don’t have everything on hand. I always like to make recipes that are flexible because I never cook something the same way twice! Just make it work with what you have, taste along the way and make it your own.
I like the big fat butter beans but cannellini, navy or pinto beans are all great options too. You may need to adjust the cooking time to 15 minutes since these beans are smaller. You could probably even try this with chickpeas in a pinch. If you are using dried beans, prepare as you normally would by soaking first and pre-cooking until almost tender before adding to the sauce in this recipe.
Some other substitutions for you. Golden syrup can be switched out with maple syrup, honey or even a little brown sugar. If you like it really smoky you could add some treacle or blackstrap molasses. I used malt vinegar but you could try apple cider vinegar or even balsamic. No fresh herbs? Dried thyme or rosemary are totally good too. If you like it spicy, add chipotle in adobo, a splash of your favourite hot sauce or as much cayenne as you can handle!
Let me preface this by saying, I almost always have pre-cooked pulled pork in the freezer. I’m not sharing the recipe for that today, but please comment if you would like me to post in the future. Instead of pulled pork you could fry up some diced bacon or speck with the onions in Step 1. You could also substitute with any other kind of shredded slow cooked meat (chicken or brisket would be good). If you are vegan, try using pulled jackfruit. Failing everything else, the beans in this delicious tomato sauce are still a winner!
Not only is this recipe really quick and easy to prepare, but it makes a generous 4-5 servings. So you can #mealprep this in advance and heat it up for a super quick breakfast, brunch or even breakfast for dinner! If you are home-schooling your kids this recipe could make a great easy lunch too. These pulled pork baked beans are hearty and comforting and keep you satisfied for a really long time. I would recommend heating it on the stove not the microwave because I did not realise that beans can explode… Let’s just say I learned that one the hard way and had a huge mess to clean!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you’re keeping safe at home during these uncertain times. Please leave me a comment below if you have any specific recipe requests. Tag me on Instagram @spicyicecream if you give this one a try!
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Pulled Pork Baked Beans
Pulled Pork Baked Beans are a hearty and comforting meal for any time of day, using ingredients you probably have in your pantry!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cans butter beans
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup or maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoky paprika
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chilli flakes, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup pulled pork
- Sourdough bread
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Fetta cheese, crumbled
- Fresh thyme leaves, extra (optional)
Heat olive oil in a medium frypan, add the onion and cook until translucent. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pan with the thyme leaves.
Add the can of tomatoes, golden syrup, paprika, garam masala, cayenne if using, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add the pulled pork and heat for a further 5 minutes. Add a little water or stock if the sauce becomes too thick.
To serve, brush slices of sourdough with olive oil and toast in a frypan or in the oven until golden brown. Pile the toast high with a generous spoonful of baked beans. Drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with crumbled fetta and fresh thyme.