These are fairly fast to prepare and certainly an improvement over canned pork and beans. Add a bit of smoked ham and it will be even better. If you use commercial chicken stock, make sure it is of good quality. Baked beans will not soften up in the oven; they are baked only to develop and to blend flavours. Baked beans have to be cooked on the stove and cooked very soft prior to “baking”; they cannot soften up in the oven, no matter how long you bake them. I prefer the flavour of small white beans; small white beans also cook faster. The recipe calls for only 1 cup of dry beans. This amount will feed Jim and me for two days. If you need larger servings or more people to feed, the recipe can be easily doubled. When reheating the following day add 1/2 cup of chicken stock, even water, just not tomato sauce, because the beans would have soaked up some of the sauce overnight.

1 cup white beans
4 cups chicken stock
4 bay leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 whole black peppercorns
1 cup tomato sauce
2 fresh sage leaves
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 pinch of hot mustard
piece of smoked ham, optional
salt and black pepper to taste

• Cook the beans first.
• Rinse 1 cup of white beans*.
• Add 5 cups of water and bring to rapid boil.
• Boil for 5 minutes; remove from heat.
• Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
• Drain the soak water and rinse beans.
• Place the beans in a medium sized pot.
• Add 3 cups of chicken stock, 2 bay leaves, 1 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, and peppercorns.
• Cover the pot, bring to boil and gently simmer for 1 hour or until beans are very soft.
• Transfer the beans to an ovenproof casserole dish, reserving the cooking liquid.
• Preheat oven to 375F.
• Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 clove of garlic, and 2 sage and 2 bay leaves.
• Add 1/2 Tbsp of brown sugar and a pinch of hot mustard.
• Add enough cooking liquid to just reach the top of the beans.
• Add the smoked ham, if using.
• Place in the oven uncovered and bake for 1 hour.
• Adjust the salt and the pepper.

*Brown beans should be soaked overnight.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!