Making your own baked beans is surprisingly gratifying. You can use haricot beans as we do here, or a mix of kidney, butter or black beans depending on what you like the best. They’re great for breakfast served with toast or Herbed soda bread (see here), but also make a lovely midweek supper. We use smoke oil (see here), which makes a fantastic addition to your storecupboard and can be used in a variety of dishes. However, if you don’t have any, you can use 1 tsp smoked paprika instead.
For the chive oil
10g chives, roughly chopped, plus more to serve
pinch of sea salt
200ml sunflower oil
For the smoky beans
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1kg (about 8) tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp tomato purée
200ml white wine
1 bay leaf
400g can of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
3 tsp smoke oil (see here)
For the poached eggs
4 tbsp salt
100ml white wine vinegar
4 slices of toast, buttered
1 tsp sea salt
Prepare the chive oil by blitzing the chives and salt in the oil using a hand-held blender. You can prepare this the night before, so the chive flavour has time to infuse the oil.
To make the smoky beans, heat the 3 tbsp of oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan or casserole dish and gently sauté the onion over a medium-low heat. Once the onion has softened, add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, cayenne, tomato purée, wine and bay leaf, then stir in 100ml of water and cover. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft, then remove from the heat.
Discard the bay leaf and blend using a hand-held blender, then pass through a sieve to remove any seeds. Pour into a clean pan and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Add the beans to the tomato sauce, along with the smoke oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Keep warm over a low heat until you’re ready to serve.
Meanwhile, to prepare the poached eggs, bring a generous amount of water, with the salt and vinegar, to the boil in the largest saucepan you have. Once the water has reached the boil, reduce the heat to low.
Two eggs at a time, crack each into a separate shallow dish or bowl. Using a large slotted spoon, stir the water in a circle, then carefully drop one egg into the centre, then another. The whites should wrap around the yolk while in the vortex, to create a teardrop shape. Allow the eggs to cook for 3–5 minutes, gently stirring the water from time to time to prevent them from settling on the bottom. Once the whites have set, remove to a bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon and repeat the process to cook all the eggs.
When you are ready to serve, return all the poached eggs to the boiling water in the pan to warm through. About 1 minute should do it. Divide the beans over the 4 hot toasts on plates and sit 2 well-drained eggs on each, with a small pinch of sea salt sprinkled on the eggs. Now place a large handful of watercress on top, finishing with a drizzle of chive oil and sprinkling with a few more chopped chives.