Spring in the UK has yet to arrive properly, and in this latest cold snap, we want something filling and warming to fill the gap. These easy homemade smoky beans hit the spot – eat them piled on griddled sourdough or toasted crumpets with plenty of salted butter.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roughly ground in a pestle & mortar
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
1 tin cannellini beans
1 tin borlotti beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Smoked water

To serve:
small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
a few spring onions, finely chopped
Greek yoghurt to dollop
4 slices of toasted sourdough

Warm the olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan, then add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring regularly until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, herbs and paprika and stir for a further 3 minutes to toast the spices gently.

Next, stir in the brown sugar, beans and tomatoes and add the bay leaf, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for 45 minutes uncovered to concentrate the flavours.

When you’re ready to eat, stir in the smoked water and serve the beans on hot buttered toast with the chopped parsley scattered on top.

RECIPE: Anna Shepherd
IMAGE: Jess Lea-Wilson