Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sweet and Savory Baked Beans

Today we’re celebrating the 90th birthday of Frances Oliver, the matriarch of the family who took me in as one of their own almost 20 years ago when I moved to Nashville. We are honored to host her birthday celebration in our home. When asked what she would like on the menu, she didn’t hesitate for a minute before listing all of her favorites; Tennessee Barbecue, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans and Corn Casserole.  

Where I grew up, we had the best pizza places on every street corner so I never felt the need to make homemade pizza.  That’s how I feel about barbecue in Tennessee.  In Nashville there are so many award winning barbecue restaurants, I see no reason to compete, so I’ll spend my time making the sides. 

Miss Frances requested buns, but I may surprise her with homemade hoe cakes, corn bread fried like pancakes. According to early American food history, hoe cakes are so-called because they were baked on the blade of a gardening hoe by slaves in the fields. 

This is the second time this week that someone has asked me to make my Sweet and Savory Baked Beans, so I thought I would share that recipe with you.

§     1 onion, finely chopped
§     1 red pepper (or a combination of red, yellow and orange), finely chopped
§     2 tablespoons vegetable oil
§     2 28 ounce cans of beans (vegetarian or pork and beans)
§     1/4 cup maple syrup
§     1/4 cup light brown sugar
§     1/4 cup ketchup
§     3 tablespoons yellow mustard
§     1 tablespoon lemon juice
§     1 teaspoon salt
§     1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan and add finely chopped onions.  Sauté the onions until translucent but not brown and then add the chopped peppers. 

Sauté the peppers and onions for one or two minutes and remove from the flame. 

In a large bowl, mix together the beans, maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  

Add the onion and pepper mixture and combine well. 

Pour into a casserole dish and bake uncovered for approximately 30 - 40 minutes until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly.  For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Sweet and Savory Baked Beans. Enjoy!

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