These baked beans are the real deal. Chef Alan Rosenthal threw 'stew parties' when he was developing the recipes for his latest book, Alan Rosenthal's Ultimate One-Pot Dishes, and this particular meal came out on top every time. We're not surprised – the addition of pork belly gives the sweet, smoky beans a definite edge. 

Ingredients

  • 400g dried haricot beans
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 5 cloves
  • 60g muscovado sugar
  • 50g black treacle
  • 50g ketchup
  • 1 tbsp English mustard (made from powder)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 800g pork belly, rind removed and cut into 3–4cm cubes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Soak the haricot beans overnight, covered with at least 8cm of water. 
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Fan 150ºC/gas mark 3.
  3. Rinse the soaked beans and put them in a heavy based, ovenproof pan that has a lid. Cover with 5cm of water, bring to simmering point and cook for about 40 minutes until nearly tender. Top up with a little boiling water if it looks too dry (you want the beans to be covered at all times).
  4. Stud the onion quarters with the cloves and add these to the pot with the sugar, treacle, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, pork and some grinds of the pepper mill (don’t add salt at this stage as it can toughen the beans).
  5. Pop the pan, with the lid on, into the oven for 2–3 hours until the beans are creamy and soft and the pork is completely tender. You may need to remove the lid for the final 30 minutes to drive off most of the remaining liquid.
  6. Give it a taste for saltiness, and season according to your taste buds. Serve with nothing more than some crusty bread and a salad.

alanrosenthal.co.uk