British-Style Beans on Toast

[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

About the author: Sydney Oland lives in Somerville, Mass. Find more information at (or read

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British-Style Beans on Toast

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4, with leftovers for a fry up
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:overnight, plus 5 hours 30 minutes
Special equipment:large pot
This recipe appears in: British Bites: Beans on Toast


  • 1 pound dry navy beans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish


  1. 1

    In a large bowl, cover beans with 1 gallon of cold water. Add 1/4 cup kosher salt and stir to dissolve. Let soak overnight on the counter. The next day, drain in a colander.

  2. 2

    In a large dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add soaked navy beans, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, tomato paste, bay leaves, tomato puree, and 4 cups chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover and lower heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are cooked, about 5 hours, adding additional stock if beans begin to look dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. 3

    Toast bread, then top with a generous portion of beans and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.


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