When I was fifteen, I spent the summer with a family in Boston looking after their kids. No child in Boston doesn’t like baked beans, which are a local tradition due to the city’s connection with making molasses. This dark nectar is their secret ingredient. Unfortunately for my vegetarian teenage self, the other secret ingredient in Boston baked beans is salt pork and it was suggested I just pick the pork out and get on with it.
This biased me against baked beans until I got the slow cooker. Adding in some pomegranate molasses to give a savoury depth instead of meat converted me back to them and I love this Brixton version. I still don’t do them on toast though. Pomegranate molasses is sweet, sour and savoury all at once compared to the regular version. If you can’t get it, use some Fig and Pomegranate Relish from page
Put the dried haricot beans into the slow-cooker crock and add the onion and tomatoes.
Measure out the pomegranate molasses into a cup or bowl and add the tomato purée, sugar, paprika, cloves and mustard and stir it all together. This makes it easier to combine with the beans.
Pour this mix into the beans and stir well so that they are as evenly coated as possible. Add the water, put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 7–8 hours.
The beans will swell and plump up and the sauce will thicken and intensify in flavour. It is rich and dark and much more grown-up than the tinned version. The beans reheat well and everyone loves them, no matter what their age.