Our wonderful neighbors, Sandy and Sherman, have been making this bean recipe for a good twenty years to take to family events and potlucks.
It's a lovely recipe.
I made it last week to bring to a potluck party up the street (Sandy and Sherman weren't at this particular get-together, but their daughter was!) and overheard many happy murmurs, and received lots of compliments.
This is evidently a bean dish for people who don't even like beans (which I can't imagine. I dream about beans.)
You've got to break out the skillet out for this recipe. I know. I'm sorry. It'll be okay, though. I promise.
serves a lot. I'd guess 15-18 nice-sized servings.
1 pound lean ground meat, browned and drained
1 pound smoked bacon, browned, drained, and diced
1 medium onion, diced and browned
1 cup ketchup (no need to brown!)
1/4 cup brown sugar (already brown!)
1 (30-ounce) can Pork n' Beans (I love products with the "n" instead of an &)
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed (they look like huge lima beans, and if they aren't in the bean section, try the canned veggie section)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke (yup, it's gluten free!)
Use a 6-quart or larger crockpot. This makes a lot.
In a large skillet, brown the hamburger, bacon, and onion. You could probably do this all together, but I did the bacon separately (and woah, mama. pork bacon spatters *way* more than turkey bacon, but it tastes a whole lot better, so I sort of got over it rather quickly. for me. I hate spattery messes.)
While the meats and onion are browning, add the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. No need to really stir things up quite yet, or the beans will fall apart. Drain the meats well, and dump into the slow cooker. Use a large spoon to gingerly fold in the hot ingredients.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir well and serve to your very best friends.
remember to clean the stove!
I really liked these beans. I liked that they were comfort food, but didn't come across as just doctored up pork n' beans, which was my initial concern. I liked the meat in there, and when I make them again (which I WILL, and soon!), I might cut back a bit on the quantity of the meat---not because it was overwhelmingly meaty---but more because I don't think the flavor would be compromised and I could get away with it without notice. Kind of more like a challenge, I suppose.
All the kids at the party who tried the beans loved them, and my girls ate leftovers happily for lunch the next two days.
Thank you, Sandy and Sherman, for sharing your famous beans!
more great bean recipes you can take to a potluck:
Top 10 Slow Cooking Potluck Recipes (compilation)
lima bean casserole/cassoulet
sweet potato chili
beans and weenies
boston baked beans
baked beans with apple and jalapeno
salsa chicken and black bean soup