For years the British have been using baked beans as part of their entrees. This article examines some traditional and not-so-traditional ways to extend the repertoire of a can of baked beans.
Breakfast With Baked Beans
A “full English breakfast” skips the pancakes and includes baked beans recipes instead. A typical breakfast will include baked beans alongside bacon, eggs (scrambled or fried) and sausage links. For a more authentic experience, use Canadian bacon rather than the thin bacon slices typically used in the United States.
Full English breakfasts also feature buttered toast or fried bread, maybe some jelly or marmalade and a grilled tomato. Sometimes, a slice of ham replaces the bacon. Try this alternative to an American breakfast for an easy change on the taste buds.
Lunch With Baked Beans
Beans on toast is a staple of British lunches or the early afternoon meal known as “tea.” Toast two slices of bread per person, butter them generously and pour hot baked beans over everything. A dash of Worcester sauce adds a pleasant spiciness to this simplest of dishes.
Baked beans also work very well in a hot sandwich maker or panini machine. Be sparing with the beans, as they otherwise tend to leak out; the baked beans are also scalding hot when first removed from the machine. To avoid a burned mouth, wait a few minutes before serving.
A variant on the hot sandwich idea is the baked bean burrito. Take a taco-size tortilla, add shredded cheese, then spoon about a quarter of a can of heated baked beans into the center. Do not overfill; the tortilla may disintegrate. Wrap it up, and be sure to keep napkins on hand. This can be a messy dish and just like hot sandwiches, the diner should watch out for scalding.
Finally, baked beans are a fine topping for baked potatoes. Add cheese to the potato and then pour baked beans on top. Skip the butter for this variant.
Dinner With Baked Beans
Baked bean pasta was a favorite among students when this writer was reading her degree. This concoction is not a traditional meal, but it serves as an easy way to serve pasta, especially for students or those on a budget.
Cook enough medium pasta shells for each person: 1-2 cups is plenty. Drain, then pour shredded cheese over the pasta and mix it in well. Pour heated beans over the top to melt the cheese further, then serve immediately. Also, be sure to fill the pot with water immediately, as this recipe cakes on hard when left alone.
For a baked bean pizza from your pizza oven, either make a pizza base or buy one pre-made. Add a layer of shredded cheese, followed by a layer of baked beans. Bake according to the package instructions or the pizza dough recipe. Serve.
Baked beans are a good source of fiber and a remarkably versatile and inexpensive ingredient. Any kind of baked bean – barbecue, chili, vegetarian, pork and beans – works well in these recipes.
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