Jamaican Beans

An exotic and colourful dish, Jamaican Beans makes an excellent accompaniment to hearty steaks or kebabs, or if the quantity of salt pork is increased it may be served, with crusty bread, as a light luncheon.

12 oz. dried white haricot beans, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

2 pints water

2 teaspoons salt

2 oz. salt pork, cut into small cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium-sized onions, thinly sliced

1 medium-sized green pepper, white pith removed, seeded and chopped

1 celery stalk, trimmed and thinly sliced

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped

3 fl. oz. dark rum

3 tablespoons treacle or molasses

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon hot chilli powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

Place the beans in a large saucepan. Pour in the water and add

1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring the water to the boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the beans for

45 to

50 minutes, or until they are barely tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and drain the beans in a colander. Place the beans in a large casserole and set aside.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 190°C).

Place the salt pork cubes in a small saucepan and just cover them with water. Place the pan over moderate heat and bring the water to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes to extract any excess saltiness from the cubes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the salt pork cubes.

In a medium-sized frying-pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the salt pork cubes, onions and green pepper to the pan and cook them, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cubes resemble small croutons and the onions are soft and translucent but not brown.

Stir in the celery and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the mixture into the casserole.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, com-bine the rum, treacle or molasses, mustard, thyme, chilli powder, the remaining salt and the pepper. Pour the mixture into the casserole and stir well.

Place the casserole in the oven and bake the mixture for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the beans are very tender.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve at once.