Camp + Cook: The Best Baked Beans

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I can see the delights and the convenience of a can of baked beans when you’re camping. It’s a super quick, healthy fix when you’re hungry and a great rescue from starvation if the rain comes down and puts out your campfire. But don’t you ever feel the need to be a little more adventurous than a can of Heinz? You know, like oh, I don’t know, making your own? Perhaps that doesn’t carry much appeal for most campers, but just think how good you’ll feel feeding your friends and family beans you baked up yourself.

This recipe is by Katie Quinn Davies of What Katie Ate fame. If you’re not familiar with her blog or her book, What Katie Ate, Recipes and Other Bits & Bobs then you’ve seriously been missing out.


These beans are truly delicious and dead simple to make. They have great depth and a divine layering of flavours that tinned baked beans simply don’t possess. Give them a whirl. You won’t want to crack open a can of beans again.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed

175g pancetta, excess fat removed, cut into 1cm pieces (I used lardons here, but you could also use normal rashers of bacon)

3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked (I used some dried thyme)

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 long red chilli, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon brown sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon hot English mustard

2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Here’s the how:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion, season with a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook until crispy (I used one pan and added the bacon a bit before the onion just to save on washing up!). Add the pancetta to the onion mixture along with the thyme, tomato, chilli, sauces and mustards. Simmer for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and stir in the cannellini beans. Cook for 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes. (Add a little water if it gets to dry).

Toast some bread, serve the beans on top with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.


I made these the other day to give My Man something hearty for breakfast. He left before I came downstairs, but I was greeted with this little message on the family blackboard:



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