Olive Magazine

Smoky baked pork and beans

Published: February 4, 2015 at 3:22 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + overnight soaking
  • Easy
  • serves 6

Adding big chunks of pork belly to this classic US side dish upgrades it to a meal-in-a-bowl. Simply serve with a spoon and crusty bread, it screams comfort food.



  • 375g dried pinto beans
  • olive oil
  • 500g boneless rindless pork belly slices, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle or molasses
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • to serve crusty bread or butter


  • STEP 1

    Put the dried beans in a large bowl, cover with plenty of cold water and leave to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

  • STEP 2

    The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Put in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 45 minutes. Drain, keeping the cooking liquid.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large solid casserole. Add the pork and cook until crisp and golden. Add the onions and cook until soft, then add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the mustard, sugar, treacle, smoked paprika, cumin, tomato purée, tamarind paste and chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir well and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beans and 600ml of the cooking liquid, the bay leaves and thyme. Mix well, bring to the boil and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook in the oven for 3 hours until the beans are tender and the sauce thickened. Serve in bowls with a spoon and crusty bread.


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