Wednesday, July 13, 2011

calico beans

Whenever there is a family event that gathers for food... I mean, festivities, you can always count on there being calico beans. Why this is such a time honored fan favorite i have no idea.  Ok, maybe it has something to do with bacon... maybe it has a lot to do with bacon, I mean, our family is pretty much obsessed with bacon! 
But I also think it has something to do with the rustic feel of it.  That and the fact that you can use pretty darn near any type of bean you have in your pantry.  We like it with a mix of kidney, lima and pork and beans but I've also made it with white beans, garbanzo (which I confess was not a real winner), and pinto.  When the kid were younger they disliked the lima beans so I would often just use two cans of pork and beans and one can kidney beans so as you can see its a fairly adaptable recipe. When doubling the recipe I will use a blend of five different beans
Calico Beans
1 pound bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cans of beans, rinsed and drained if necessary (Pork and beans don't get rinsed)
1 cup ketchup
3/4 brown sugar (use less if you want it to be less sweet)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
3 tablespoons vinegar (I like to use cider vinegar)

Cook the bacon over medium heat and cook till done.  Drain off all but a tablespoon of grease and cook diced onions until translucent; remove from pan.  Brown ground beef and drain off the grease.

In a two quart casserole dish, medium pot or crock pot, combine beans, meat, onion,bacon and the remaining ingredients.  Mix well.
Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.
Cook on stove top, uncovered for one hour on medium heat.
Use in crock pot and let simmer for at least 1 hour.

*My husband likes to add 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, its optional.

Serves 8

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