first published in Fortified Issue 2 ed. by Sinae Park
A thing or two I know about breakfast,
or how to cook baked beans.
most resident in a cupboard, only the aromatic, fresh and harder to find:
pepper, ground directly,
a few cloves of garlic, the flat of a broad knife laid against them, then pounded to flatten. skins and dry ends afterwards removed.
tomato purée in a metal tube,
fresh tarragon, thin and delicately coconut-y,
a tin of baked beans.
butter, a lot,
in the saucepan and foaming.
pepper ground in to the yellow to bloom.
(you will smell it,)
and then whole or sliced garlic agitated alone among this for ten
add some squirls of tomato concentrate directly down into the pot from the tube.
with a spoon or a chopstick or anything, muddle this all together, cooking the tomato and watching it get a richer colour
watch it darken - do not allow it to burn
add tarragon, in sprigs or chopped depending on effort level, to this mix. Soon, once it starts to get too hot,
crack open the tin of beans
and spill in just the liquid from this.
(You can do this by only detaching half of the metal lid, so that it can act to keep the beans in while releasing the liquid. As such, maybe clean the outside of the tin before opening)
If contents not very saucy in tin, add some off-the-boil water to the pot. This deglazes the pan. Reduce the heat. So, this runny liquid will get added and then the mixture will calm down.
taste after a minute for salt,
You may now need to do some scraping of the bottom of the pan, this is good.
Let this bean liquid sizzle down and take on the redder ruddiness of the purée. A more blood-like shade of red.
Then, reduce the heat and add the rest of the beans to warm through, on a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until very hot. Remember they are already cooked.
Serve in a ceramic bowl at the table, so that it stays very hot and can be spooned on to buttered toast as and when (no sogginess).
this, with very hot milky tea, in white autumn light.