Slow-cooked smoky beans

10:00 am on 22 May 2020
Spicy Beans

I use dried beans in this recipe which are slow-cooked to perfection, soaking up all the flavours and maintaining a texture superior to canned beans. Make sure you soak the beans in water for at least a couple of hours (or overnight) before cooking to help slightly soften them (it improves their texture and reduces cooking time). These beans are delicious in many ways - nachos, burritos or enchiladas, or simply on hot buttered toast with a poached egg. For an extra veg hit, stir through chopped or baby spinach at the end until wilted, or even cooked eggplant, courgette or roast pumpkin.  Photo: Nadia Lim


Prep time: 5 minutes (+ time to soak the beans) / Cook time: 2 ½ - 3 hours 

DF | VEGAN ​| for GF use apple cider vinegar


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves 
  • leaves from 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander and smoked paprika 
  • 200g dried pinto or haricot beans soaked in water for a few hours (or overnight), drained
  • 3 tomato passata or 2 x 400g cans crushed/chopped tomatoes
  • 6-8 tablespoons smoky barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce 
  • 1-2 tablespoons chipotle sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
  • 3 cups vegetable stock 


1.    Preheat oven to 150°C. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-based, flame-proof, ovenproof casserole dish or Dutch oven, or a fry pan with a lid. Cook onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft and starting to brown a little. Add spices and continue cooking for 30 more seconds. 

2.    Add all remaining ingredients, stir, cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven to cook for 3 ½ - 4 hours until beans are soft and sauce has thickened. Check on the beans after 2 - 2 ½ hours and top up with a little water if it looks like it is drying out. 

3.    Once beans are cooked, season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is not quite thick enough, simmer the beans and sauce on the stovetop for about 5 minutes or until it thickens. 

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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