From Adam Ragusea.
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***RECIPE, MAKES UP TO 10 PORTIONS***
1 lb (454g) dried beans (navy would be good, I used black-eyed-peas)
a cloves of garlic
200g room-temperature butter or shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 spoonful mayonnaise (not necessary)
fresh herbs (I used rosemary in the cake and dill in the beans)
other seasonings (I used garlic and onion powder and paprika)
Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce)
white wine (optional)
If you have time, get your beans soaking in plain water, up to a day before dinner. Just an hour will help, though.
Combine the room-temperature butter with the sugar and beat on high for several minutes until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, the mayonnaise (if you have it), followed by the flour, baking soda, 1-2 teaspoons of salt, zest of the orange and some finally chopped fresh herbs. It should feel like wet cookie dough when assembled. Put the batter in a greased or parchment-lined loaf pan and bake at 375ºF/190ºC until a skewer to the center comes out clean — mine took less than an hour. Let cool completely.
For the beans, peel and chop the onion and garlic. Cook in a little oil in a big pot until starting to go soft. If you soaked the beans, drain and discard the water. Put the beans in the pot and cover the beans by 2-3 cm with water (or half water, half white wine). Squeeze in some ketchup and tomato paste to start with (you’ll add more at the end), add a glug of molasses if you have it and a glug of Worcestershire sauce (again, you’ll add more to taste at the end).
Bring the beans to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, adding water as necessary to keep them just submerged — mine took an hour, but some beans take longer. When the beans are tender, taste them, and add a lot more ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire and additional seasonings (like garlic/onion powder, pepper, paprika) to taste.
Mix a spoonful of starch with just enough water to make a slurry. Pour a little slurry into the beans while stirring vigorously and bring to a simmer to thicken. Add slurry until you have the thick, glossy texture you desire. At the last minute, stir in the juice of the orange and some fresh herbs. You can always add more water if the beans thicken too much as they cool.
Slice the cake and just toast the slices in the oven — I used my broiler. Put a slice on a plate and serve lots of beans on top. The recipe probably gives you more beans than you’ll need — freeze them.