Gill Meller's Campfire pork and beans recipe

Gill Meller says this recipe is “set somewhere between a cassoulet and Boston baked beans. It’s absolutely perfect for cooking round the campfire – rich, hearty and warming,”
Gill Meller's Campfire pork and beansGill Meller's Campfire pork and beans
Gill Meller's Campfire pork and beans


Serves 4

250g dried haricot beans

1tbsp sea salt

1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

200g bacon lardons or bacon off-cuts

3 celery sticks, cut in 2–3cm pieces

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

7–8 sage leaves, cut into ribbons

1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked and chopped

1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes

1tbsp light brown soft sugar

1tbsp red wine vinegar

250g piece of smoked bacon

2–3 bay leaves

6–8 pork sausages

Freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Add the salt, give the beans a stir and allow them to soak for 10–12 hours or overnight. (If you’re camping, you may want to do this before you leave.)

2. Drain the beans and place them in a large pan. Cover with more water and set the pan over a hot fire. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender – about 45 minutes should do it.

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3. Set a large, heavy-based saucepan, that has a lid, over a medium-hot fire.

4. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and, when it’s hot, add the bacon lardons and fry them until they take on a bit of colour and begin to render some of their fat. Now, add the celery, onion and garlic. Stir well and continue to cook for five to 10 minutes more. Add the sage and rosemary and some black pepper.

5. Stir in the canned tomatoes, sugar and red wine vinegar. Add the drained beans and about 500 millilitres of water, so the bacon and beans are covered. Tuck in the piece of smoked bacon and add the bay leaves. Put a lid on the pan and let it cook gently for two hours.

6. When it’s had its time simmering and the beans are meltingly tender, lay the sausages down on the grill over a medium-high heat. Cook them, turning regularly, until they are dark and caramelised, then add them to the stew. If they seem a bit too big, just cut them in half. Continue to cook the stew gently for 15–20 minutes, until the sausages are cooked through, then take it off the fire and let it rest and cool for at least 10–15 minutes before serving.

Outside: Recipes For A Wilder Way Of Eating by Gill Meller is published by Quadrille, priced £30. Photography by Andrew Montgomery.

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