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I was first introduced to this tangy, hearty and casserole-like soup several years ago by my mother-in-law. She would make it every Bonfire Night as a “winter warmer” to be served at the firework party she would throw, to be eaten either in a chunky mug when stood outside, or as a way to warm your bones once you’d come back inside. This is all well and good, but this is far too tasty a dish to reserve for a once-a-year roll-out.

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We cooked this for my own mother on her recent trip to England and she immediately demanded the recipe. Yesterday she informed me that she’d already made it (now back in France) and is planning on making it for visitors on a regular basis.

There’s not a lot to this recipe, but it relies on a couple of easily-obtained flavour winners: bacon (what’s not to love there?) and barbecue beans. That’s right. BBQ Beans.

Other barbecue bean manufacturers are available ... Please check local listings for details.

Other barbecue bean manufacturers are available … Please check local listings for details.


  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped (if you want to use pancetta cubes or lardons instead then go right ahead)
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 or 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 x 400g can barbecue flavour baked beans*
  • 1 pint (2 cups) chicken stock
  • Handful (approx. 50g/half a cup) small pasta (such as conchigliette)
  • 15 mls (1 tablespoon) tomato purée
  • 1 x 220g can baked beans*
  • Small can sweetcorn (optional)

*If you can only get a small can of barbecue beans then use a large tin of regular beans. I have made this soup with curry-flavour beans, and the soup tasted great. Feel free to substitute with any flavour beans you wish!


Melt the butter in a pan. Add onion, bacon, leek and carrot and allow to soften.


Mash or process about half of the barbecue beans and add to the vegetables with the stock. Add the tomato purée and pasta. Stir thoroughly. (I should add that if you have a couple of potatoes you wish to dice into small cubes then you can throw these in either in addition to or in replacement of the pasta. Or any bits of veg that you wish to use up!)


Allow to simmer until thickened, around 10 or 15 minutes. Add the rest of the baked beans (barbecue and regular) and sweetcorn (if using). Taste and season if required. Cook for another 5 minutes. If it isn’t as thick as you’d like, make up a little cornflour paste and use this to thicken.


Serve with crusty bread!