We are at that point in the year again where the weather is warming up for my ReDux friends overseas but is definitely cooling down here in Australia. This normally means having to be quite creative in interpreting the Recipe ReDux theme to fit our climate. This month however I have had to do no such thing, because the theme transcends all seasons and is something that everyone loves – BRUNCH!
The description that came with our brunch theme talked about how in the US they are coming into ‘shower’ season with a lot more people throwing bridal and baby shower brunches and graduation parties because of the nicer weather. However, anyone from Melbourne would know that there is no one season for brunches here – brunch or a late breakfast or the ‘all day breakfast’ is a popular weekend pastime all year ‘round – no special reason needed!
I did however want to make my recipe a little more exciting than just eggs on toast and so I tried my hand at homemade baked beans. These are, in my opinion, extra special because they have been cooked with a smoked ham hock. I won’t lie, this recipe does take a bit of time to come together but when you have a lazy Sunday stretched out before you, why not spend it creating a wonderful meal?! Teamed with a poached egg, some silverbeet (aka chard) and some thick, crusty toast, this is a meal that will keep you going for the rest of the day.
Homemade Baked Beans (that aren’t really baked!)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1.5 hours
2 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (use navy beans if you can find them!)
1 medium sized smoked ham hock with skin and fat removed (mine was originally 700g before the skin and fat was removed)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 400g cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Poached eggs, silverbeet, crusty toast and freshly ground black pepper to serve
- Place ham hock in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add beans and simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the ham hock and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the beans.
- Heat olive oil in the same saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until soft. If your pan is too dry, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid.
- While the onion and garlic are cooking, shred the meat from the ham hock, discarding any fatty pieces.
- Add shredded meat, tomatoes, remaining reserved liquid, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and mustard to the onions and garlic in the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add beans and simmer for a further 15 minutes until sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve with crusty toast, a poached egg and cooked silverbeet (see notes). Season with freshly ground black pepper.
- For out of this world crusty toast, cut your loaf of bread into thick slices and brush each slice with a little olive oil and grill on both sides using a griddle pan
- This was the first time I had attempted a poached egg in my life! To do so, I used this recipe. If you follow it to the letter, you will get perfectly poached eggs (well it worked for this amateur!)
- For the silverbeet, slice finely and cook in some salted water with a squashed clove of garlic until the stalky bit of the silverbeet is soft