Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pioneer Beans

Back in the 70s  when we were hosting a family dinner at our house my mom served a new side dish that she called "Pioneer Beans."  I imagine the recipe came from one of the magazines to which she subscribed.  Anyway, everyone loved them, and the dish has been a staple at almost every family gathering for nearly 40 years now.

I don't make them too often because it's just the two of us, and my husband doesn't like them., but two weekends ago I was in Iowa for my niece's high school graduation, and my sister had a big batch of them for the party.  Delicious - especially with the pulled pork my brother-in-law had prepared for the event.

So, this past weekend when our church was having a potluck cookout I decided to bring them.  I had several requests for the recipe, so here's my mom Etta's recipe for Pioneer Beans:

Etta's Pioneer Beans
1/2 lb. hamburger
1/2 lb. bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 (16 oz) can Lima Beans
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
1 (16 oz) can white beans
1 (16 oz) can pork and beans
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. ketchup
1/4 c. mustard

Brown hamburger, bacon and onion together.  Drain.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir together.  Bake one hour at 345. Or, you can do what I do and cook it on high in the crockpot for a couple of hours, or until heated through.

A couple of notes - instead of cooking the bacon with the hamburger and onion, I baked the bacon in the oven at 425 on top of a baking rack in a foil lined cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. (This method was given to me by my sister Lori, who learned it from watching The Barefoot Contessa.  It's the only way I make bacon now.)  After it cooled I chopped it up and added it to the rest of the ingredients.

So that's it.  Super easy, filling, and a good side dish for large gatherings and summer barbeques - especially if you use the crockpot.  One word of warning - when my husband and I got married my mom was having the families over to our house afterwards.  She put the beans in the crockpot, then went to the church.  When they got back home, the beans had overflowed and were all over.  So just make sure you don't overfill the crockpot.

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