Baked bean gratin
This is a perfect base dish for student life. You can pull it together relatively quickly by using tinned beans and skip baking it in the oven. It’s ideal for tidying up the fridge of sad vegetables, bits of cheese and cold meats. I often make this with leftover salami, ham or roast lamb and a mixture of different hard and soft cheeses together to form an indulgent topping. This recipe makes a lot but it will keep well in the fridge for four to five days, can be frozen in batches and is ideal for a party.
Heat a large saucepan and add a good splash of oil. Add the onions and celery and season well with salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add in the beans, tomatoes, beer, chopped chilli, smoked paprika, bay leaves and molasses. Bring to the boil and turn the heat down to low and simmer for nearly an hour. Taste and add seasoning if needed. Add in the vinegar and mix well.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees and in the meantime mix the breadcrumbs with the chopped parsley and cheese if using. Sprinkle on top of the beans and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden.
Serve with crusty bread.