These melt-in-your-mouth baked beans can be enjoyed on their own, or piled on top of bruschetta or toast and topped with shaved parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. They can be served as an accompaniment to meat, chicken, fish or crispy bacon. Scrumptious with pork sausages! The recipe can easily be tweaked to make it a vegan dish.
Preheat oven to 160C
Rinse soaked beans and place in a large saucepan with plenty of water. Bring to the boil and cook over high heat for ten minutes. Drain.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large frying pan, and add onions, leek and garlic. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and transparent.
Add chopped thyme, and stir for a further minute. Add the drained beans and the chicken stock. Increase heat and bring to the boil.
Remove from stovetop and place bean mixture in a large ovenproof casserole dish with a lid. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 3-4 hours, checking occasionally to ensure that there is sufficient liquid. Add more stock of necessary.
Check seasoning and serve.
Substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock to make this dish suitable for vegetarians. Butter can be replaced with olive oil for vegans. Meat-lovers can add chopped bacon or pancetta to the onion and leek mixture!
This dish stores well in the fridge for up to 3 days, and freezes well. If you are making it to freeze, make the mixture a little wetter than usual, and keep the cooking time to around 3 hours.
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