In winter, this is the food I crave. I make a big batch and eat it for lunch over a few days. To appease the resident carnivores, I generally add a ham hock, but have also used speck or pancetta. I reckon it would be just as moreish with any meat at all.
500g dried cannelini beans
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tin tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
ham hock (optional)
Cover the beans with water and soak for at least 6 hours. Drain beans and place in saucepan, cover again with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 1 hour (or 20 minutes on high pressure in a pressure cooker). Drain.
Heat oven to 180 degrees. Soften the chopped onion in some olive oil over medium heat in a flameproof casserole dish. Add the drained beans, sugar, maple syrup, worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and bay leaf. Add the ham hock too if using. Give it a good stir and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake in the oven for 2 hours, taking off the lid in the last twenty minutes. If you have used a ham hock, remove the hock and take meat off the bone. Shred and return to the beans.
Note: These beans bear no relation to those in tins, so if tinned baked beans don't appeal, I urge you to try these! And if you are partial to tinned baked beans, I double urge you to try these.