A few weeks ago I met G at Milk Bar on a sunny Sunday morning for breakfast. We both had their home baked beans with sourdough toast and goat cheese. It was awesome. So enjoyable in fact that it has been simmering at the back of my brain since then and I decided I would try to make my own version.
Which brings me to my newest favourite thing: smoked ham hocks. I was at the Ginger Pig picking up bits and pieces for a week of dinners and saw these massive smoked hunks of meat. I was pretty sure you had to boil them and that if you boiled them with the beans then all sorts of goodness would happen in the pot. I was right.
We ate the beans with pagnotta bread from Eau a la Bouche which is I think my favourite type of bread and very plain goat cheese. Simple, relatively easy (especially for future as the beans made a mountain and I put two meals worth in the freezer) and homey - one of those comfort meals that feel like an internal hug.
Beans & Ham
A smoked ham hock
Enough water to cover
An onion, split into quarters
Two carrots, cut into quarters
Bring to a simmer and let bubble happily and covered for an hour.
300 g cannellini beans, soaked over night
After an hour, add the beans to the ham hock soup. Simmer for an hour or until beans are tender.
At this point I took the ham hock out and let it cool so that I could chop it up and put all the meaty bits aside for the finished product.
Meanwhile I chopped two red onions, two cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary, two glugs of olive oil and let them all sizzle and sing together for about ten minutes. Just before they started to colour I added three tablespoons of brown sugar and two of cider vinegar, stirred and then added a 400g can of chopped tomatoes. Stirred, let it all start to get to know each other and then spooned the beans into the pan, making sure to save the ham/bean cooking water.
I let it simmer and bubble until it looked like it had all come together, about 10 minutes, tasted, adjusted a bit of salt and pepper, added the ham hock meat pieces and tada - homemade baked beans. That weren't baked at all.
And now I have the most luxurious ham water with which to make pea soup. Stay tuned....