Homemade Smoky Baked Beans with Bacon

There is no luminous orange tomato sauce around these baked beans.

I love store-bought baked beans but I always wonder what makes the sauce as orange as it sometimes is (especially in the cheaper varieties). Last weekend I thought I would make up a big batch of beans myself so I knew exactly what the ingredients were – including bacon 🙂

The bacon plus the finely sliced jalapenos gave the beans a smoky flavour without the need for additional BBQ sauce. I also came up with the idea of including some finely diced capsicum (bell pepper) to give the sweetness that usually comes from brown sugar being stirred into the sauce. I guess that makes these beans pretty healthy because of the extra vegetables.

Of course if you need to feed vegetarians then leave out the bacon.

Ingredients – serves at least 6 as a side:

  • 150g/5 oz bacon, diced
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, finely sliced
  • 800g/28 oz can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 400g/14 oz can diced tomatoes (or passata instead)
  • 1/2 cup water (optional, depending on how thick you like your tomato sauce)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small red capsicum (bell pepper), finely diced
  • 1/2 small green capsicum (bell pepper), finely diced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to season

Method:

  • Add the bacon, onion and jalapenos to a small frying pan and cook over a medium heat on the stovetop for a few minutes until the bacon just starts to turn golden. Remove from the heat.
  • Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan forced/390F.
  • Put the bacon mixture, beans, tomatoes, water (if using), garlic, and diced capsicum (bell pepper)  into a casserole dish for which you have a lid. Stir to mix then season well with black pepper.
  • Cook, covered with the lid, for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and cook for a further 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving. (The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.)
  • Enjoy!

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