Begin the recipe a day before. The beans need to be pre-soaked and cooked before proceeding with the recipe.
320 g navy beans (substitute black-eyed beans, canellini beans or other) to yield 480 g cooked
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t coriander seeds (sub. 1 t ground)
2 t cumin seeds (sub. 1 t ground)
1 t fennel seeds (sub. 1 t ground)
2 t smoked paprika
2 t yellow mustard seeds
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t dried saltbush (sub. thyme or oregano)
dried chilli flakes to taste or 1-2 fresh large chillies, minced
4 T tomato paste (low or no salt)
1 x 400 g can tomatoes
2 T brown sugar
2 T worcesteshire sauce
4 T apple cider vinegar
600 g smoked pork bones or 1 ham hock (optional)
salt and pepper
The night before, rinse beans, discarding any grit or discoloured beans and place in a bowl or saucepan with plenty of fresh water to cover. Cover and leave overnight.
The next day, drain the beans, place in a saucepan with some more fresh water, bring to a gentle boil and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients. Place olive oil in a large stockpot or crockpot and sauce onion over moderate heat for a few minutes until it begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic and remaining spices and herbs and cook for a further 5 or so minutes.
Add tomato paste and cook out for a minute or two. Add canned tomatoes, filling the can with water and adding that too, then the sugar, worcestershire and vinegar. Hold off on the seasoning for now. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Add pre-cooked beans and pork bones or hock and cook on a low heat (just simmering) until the sauce has thickened and reduced and the pork is falling off the bones. Note, if using pork bones, tie them in a piece of muslin or a food-safe fine mesh bag before adding to the pot as they may contain very small bones which are difficult to remove after cooking.
Carefully remove the bones or hock and allow to cool slightly. Leave the beans on a low heat. When cool enough to handle, carefully shred the pork from the bones and return it to the pan. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add more sugar, vinegar, worcestershire or chilli to get the right balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavours.
As this makes a lot, you may want to freeze some for later. Allow the beans to cool until they are no longer steaming, then store in the freezer for up to a month. Enjoy any way you like beans! They are pretty good with a poached egg for breakfast.
About The Daughter's Table
The Daughter's Table is a living archive of recipes and stories. It is inspired by my daughter, and the desire to create a food legacy that connects us to what we eat and why.