The 4th of July: parades … fireworks … picnics and barbecues …Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Ahhhhh America! It’s a big holiday so naturally my mind starts whirling with the buffet of recipes to prepare for family and friends. A perennial potluck favorite is this Baked 4-Bean Casserole. It is unique, portable and delicious. Three pretty good reasons to give it a try!
Some people may question the addition of lima beans but they really do add great color and texture to the dish. I encourage you to try them at least once. If, however, the addition of lima beans will cause a revolution within your household, by all means, substitute another legume (like black beans, pinto beans or black-eyed peas). We are celebrating freedom, after all.
The sauce for this casserole is another thing that elevates this recipe above other baked bean dishes. Molasses, mustard, and cider vinegar add a deep, sweet and tangy flavor that works really well with the smokiness of the bacon.
Any time potlucks or picnics are involved, food that is easy to transport is required. Temperature is also a factor in deciding what to make. Does it have to be kept hot/cold? How do I get it there? Will it make a mess in my car? These beans can be made in the oven and transported in an insulated carrier. Don’t have one? Wrap the whole pan (lid and all) with aluminum foil and then wrap again with a thick, clean towel. It will stay warm and ready to serve for the (close-by) event. Going a little further? Transfer the cooked beans to a crock pot and turn on warm when you arrive. This recipe makes a thicker sauce (thank you, molasses) which eliminates the potential sloppiness when trying to transport. The serving temperature of the beans is also less of an issue than other dishes because they can be enjoyed hot, warm or even cold … well, some people enjoy them cold (cue a nod from my husband).
Did I mention bacon? Of course there’s bacon. Bacon = Delicious.
Disagree? Well, democracy is good. Agree to disagree.
one more reason
Since we are celebrating the FOURTH of July, I really should give you FOUR good reasons to try this recipe. July is National Baked Bean Month. Convinced?
You could always turn this recipe into a theme dish by adding cut up hot dogs for Baked 4-Beanie Weenie to eat while watching the hot dog eating contest on television. On second thought … it might be better not to eat anything while watching a hot dog eating contest!
Enjoy all of your favorite activities, food and beverages this Independence Day.
God bless America … every day!