Quick Boston-style Baked Beans

17 Sep 2023

This is a very versatile and adaptable recipe that comes from the USA. It can be used as a main dish served with chunks of crusty bread and salad or as a fantastic jacket potato topping.


400g can beans (haricot, borlotti OR cannellini)
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 sticks celery
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic OR 1 x 5ml spoon garlic purée
150g lean pork, bacon OR gammon
2 x 15ml spoons vegetable oil
1 x 15ml spoon tomato purée
1 x 15ml white wine vinegar OR balsamic vinegar
1 x 15ml spoon dark brown sugar OR black treacle
2 x 5ml spoons Worcestershire sauce
Black pepper (optional)


Weighing scales
Can opener
2 x Chopping board
2 x Sharp knife
Garlic crusher
Large saucepan or frying pan with lid
Wooden spoon
Measuring spoons
Pan stand


  1. Open the can of beans, drain in the sieve and rinse under the cold tap.
  2. Open the can of tomatoes.
  3. Wash the celery and slice into ½cm pieces.
  4. Peel and dice the onion into 1cm pieces.
  5. Peel and crush the garlic, if using a fresh clove.
  6. Slice the meat into thin slices about 3cm long.
  7. Add the oil to the saucepan and heat.
  8. Add the meat to the saucepan, stir and cook for 5 minutes until it starts to brown.
  9. Add the onion and celery to the saucepan and cook gently for 5–10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  10. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato purée, vinegar, sugar or treacle and Worcestershire sauce and stir well.
  11. Bring to the boil, then simmer, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  12. Add the beans and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes. If it becomes too dry, add about 100ml of water and continue to simmer until you have a thick sauce.
  13. Add black pepper to taste (if using) and serve.

Skills used include:
Weighing, measuring, peeling, chopping, crushing, mixing/combining, boiling/simmering and frying.

Top Tips

  • The combination of sugar, treacle and vinegar give the beans a distinctive taste. Dark brown sugar and a mild vinegar gives the best flavour. Just use 1 x 5ml spoon if you are using malt vinegar.

Something to try next time

  • Try different types of canned beans.
  • Use a variety of vegetables such as a chopped red or orange pepper or a handful of sliced mushrooms at step 9.
  • Sprinkle the beans with chopped fresh parsley to serve.

Prepare now, eat later

  • This dish can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Cool as quickly as possible and store, covered, in the fridge. This recipe is delicious cold mixed with cooked cold pasta.