Pork and beans

Pork and beans


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This is a dish from the Eastern seaboard of America, where the pork and beans are traditionally simmered slowly in an earthenware casserole dish. Baked jacket potatoes or crusty bread are perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce.

Elaine Russell

Serves: 4 

  • 1¼ cups (250 g) dried white haricot beans, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 thin lean pork chops (about 600 g in total), trimmed of all excess fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) beer
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (about 400 g)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 2 tbsp mild American or French mustard
  • 2 rindless short-cut bacon rashers, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar, or to taste
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:25min  ›  Cook:3hours  ›  Ready in:3hours25min 

  1. Drain and rinse the beans, then place them in a large saucepan and pour over enough cold water to come up to about twice the depth of the beans. Cover the pan with its lid and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan again and cook the beans for 45–60 minutes or until they are just tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep flameproof casserole dish, add the pork chops and onion, then fry until the chops are browned on both sides. Pour in the beer and tomatoes, then add the Worcestershire sauce, sugar and allspice. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 1 hour or until the meat is very tender.
  3. Drain the beans and add them to the pork chops. Add the mustard, bacon and vinegar and stir well to mix. Cook, covered, over a low heat for a further hour or until the beans and the pork are meltingly tender.
  4. Before serving, taste for seasoning and add a dash or two more of Worcestershire sauce or vinegar, if you like.

Some more ideas…

*Haricot beans are also known as navy beans. If you can't find them, you can use dried cannellini beans instead.
*Instead of soaking and cooking dried beans, you can save time by adding 1 can cannellini beans (about 400 g), drained and rinsed, at the beginning of step 3.
*Tuscan-style beans with sausages: Use 500 g good-quality sausages, cut into bite-sized pieces, instead of the pork. Brown the sausages with the onion in a deep, non-stick frying pan; set aside. Pour off fat from the pan (do not add fat), then add ½ cup (125 ml) red wine, 200 ml vegetable stock, preferably homemade, 1 can chopped tomatoes (about 400 g), 8 chopped fresh sage leaves, 2 bay leaves, 2 crushed garlic cloves and pepper to taste. Cook uncovered over a low heat for 30 minutes. Add the sausages and onion together with 1 can cannellini beans (about 400 g), drained and rinsed, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Health points

Tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid compound and a valuable anti-oxidant that is thought to protect against prostate, bladder and pancreatic cancers. Lycopene is enhanced by cooking and so is most readily available in processed tomato products, such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, puréed tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Each serving provides

GI estimate low.

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