Recipe: Homemade Baked Beans with Smoked Ham

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed a joyful and safe holiday period. It’s been way too long since my last post, but the final quarter of 2012 was incredibly busy for us. We received some wonderful news (more on that later), moved house twice, and are now finally able to catch our breath as we find ourselves at the start of 2013!

If your holiday has been anything like mine, you would have experienced the entire month of December in a perpetual food-induced coma. With weekends and most work days filled with one celebratory function after the next, there’s been no shortage of gloriously decadent food. It’s only once the smoke from new years’ eve fireworks had cleared that I realised how tight my clothes were fitting! So naturally I began to crave for more nutritious and wholesome fare.

What better way to start 2013 than with a wholesome breakfast of good old baked beans on toast. Sure you can just crack open a can of beans, but like most things, its much healthier when it’s homemade, not to mention much yummier!

I admit the name “baked” beans is slightly misleading as no baking is involved. Instead, dried beans are soaked overnight, which isn’t terribly tricky, but does take some forward planning. Then you just chuck it in a pot with a some smoked ham (or that left-over Christmas ham) and leave to simmer. The final addition of flavour and spices gives it a delicious kick you won’t find in any can.

Homemade Baked Beans with Smoked Ham

Serves 4-6
Based on a recipe on


  • 300g dried beans (such as haricot or navy, borlotti & cannellini)
  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 900g), skin and fat removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried chili (optional)
  • 800g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Crusty toast, poached eggs & wilted spinach, to serve


  1. Place the beans in a bowl. Cover with cold water and soak overnight. Drain.
  2. Place beans, ham hock, bay leaves, peppercorns, and cloves in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove ham hock. Drain beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves (if you can find them).
  3. In the same saucepan, heat oil and cook onion, garlic, thyme, paprika and chili (if using) for 3 minutes until soft. Add tomatoes, reserved liquid, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and mustard, and stir until combined.
  4. Cut meat from ham hock and shred. Add to pan with beans. Simmer for a further 30 minutes until thick and beans are tender. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve the baked beans with crusty toast and wilted spinach.

The main reason for the delay in posts? I wasn’t feeling well, and it lasted all day, every day for a few months because well… I’ll let you figure that one out ;)

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