A Spanish Isles take on baked beans, the legumes are slow cooked with beef bones and plenty of herbs and finished with a poached egg.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (14 votes)


  • 300 g (10½ oz) dried borlotti (cranberry) beans, soaked in cold water overnight, drained
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) beef marrowbones, oxtail or knuckle bones
  • 20 g (¾ oz) butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 field mushroom, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved crossways
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 litres (2 qts) beef or chicken stock
  • 2 thick English-style, good-quality pork sausages, sliced into rounds
  • 1 marjoram or oregano sprig
  • 1½ tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 poached eggs, to serve (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need to start this recipe a day ahead, to allow time to soak the beans. 

  1. Place the beans in a large saucepan with the rosemary. Cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer over medium heat for 40–50 minutes, until the beans are tender. Drain. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig.
  2. Meanwhile, place the beef marrowbones, butter and half the oil in a large stockpot over high heat. Stir the bones to coat in the butter and oil and cook for 10–15 minutes, until they have leached out their juices and turned grey with no blood remaining. Add the mushroom, half the onion, the carrot, garlic, bay leaf and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10–12 minutes, until the ingredients have turned a dark golden brown. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 1 hour to let the flavours marry.
  3. Strain the stock into a saucepan and keep warm.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the sausage and marjoram or oregano and cook for 5 minutes or until the sausage is golden brown. Add the remaining onion and cook for 12–15 minutes, until soft and golden, then add the flour and stir for just under 1 minute to coat the onion. Slowly pour in the stock, stirring to combine, then add the beans. Bring to a simmer, stir through the tomato and cook for 2–3 minutes, until soft.
  5. Serve the gravy beans in bowls for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with a poached egg on top, if you like.


Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99