Baked Beans are one of those dishes that the majority of kids just love and are a staple convenience food in both Ireland and the UK. There is so much sugar and salt in the store bought cans that I no longer include them in my weekly shop (much to my kids dismay). I decided to use butterbeans for this recipe because they are much easier for little ones to pick up as opposed to the haricot kind.
I started with a good tomato base sauce, then slowly added spices, a little apple cider vinegar and finally added my beloved medjool dates one at a time until the sweetness was just right. The preparation takes only 15 minutes and I normally make a few batches so that they are always in the freezer ready to go. When they are baked in the oven for a few hours the taste changes again into a rich delicious concoction of yumminess. My three kids love them and today we had them for dinner with roasted potato wedges and eggs 🙂
Heat oil in your frying pan and then gently fry your onions over a medium heat until golden. This takes approximately 8 minutes. Stir them often and then add the garlic. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until soft but not browned.
Add the tomato purée, tin of tomatoes and 200ml of water to the pan and stir well.
Transfer your mixture to your blender, add the medjool dates and purée everything until it is completely smooth. (If you don’t have a high speed blender you might want to soak your dates in warm water for about an hour before hand).
Pour the mixture into a deep oven dish and add all your remaining ingredients. Give it all a good stir to completely combine.
Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes, then remove from the oven stir in another 200ml of water and then bake for another 60 minutes. (2 hours in total).
Remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving. If the sauce is a little thick you can add more water at any time.