GINNA PARSONS: Baked beans with a twist

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

I sometimes interview cooks who say they often have a meal or a dish at a restaurant and then go home and try to duplicate it, largely with great success.
I, too, have tried this on occasion, usually without great success.
But on Sunday evening, I think I hit the nail square on the head.
It was probably three years ago when I went into a Tupelo restaurant and ordered a turkey sandwich. One of the choices for a side was baked beans and, being a baked beans fan, that’s what I chose.
When my order came, I was perplexed. My baked beans didn’t look like any I’d ever seen before. There were green beans and butter beans in the mix, along with others. And the sauce they were in was less gooey and more “liquid-y” than the traditional beans I’m used to.
But were they ever good.
On Sunday, when my husband decided to grill some chicken pieces along with corn on the cob, I decided I wanted to try to replicate the multi-colored bean dish.
I started by choosing my favorite canned baked beans – Bush’s Grillin’ Beans, Steakhouse Recipe. I knew I needed limas and green beans, but I couldn’t remember the others in the restaurant’s recipe, so I just chose two others I like: dark red kidney beans and Great Northern beans. I’m sure you could use black beans or ranch-style beans or something else if you prefer.
This turned out to be a really pretty dish, in addition to being very tasty. My husband and son both enjoyed it as well. And we have a ton of leftovers … this recipe makes a lot.

Hodgepodge Beans
5 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3⁄4 cup chicken broth
1 (22-ounce) can Bush’s Grillin’ Beans, Steakhouse Recipe
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cut green beans, drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can lima beans, rinsed and drained
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons white vinegar
In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until it’s almost done. Add onions to pan and cook a few minutes, until tender. Add chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Add the five cans of beans. In a small bowl, combine sugar, ketchup and vinegar. Add to bean mixture and stir. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Serves 10 to 12 easily.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.