Friday, August 31, 2007

Pot-Luck? Try Sweet and Sour Beans

When it comes to pot-luck in Catfish Country (and let me just say that there is a lot of "pot-luck" here), the cooks have special recipes they like to prepare over and over, especially when the group’s food “critics” rave about their dishes!

Fran Pearce has just such a recipe.

Fran is a down-home, keep-it-simple kind of cook, and while her Sweet ‘N Sour Beans has a lot of ingredients, it’s one of those put-it-in-the-crockpot-and-forget-about-it dishes that busy folks love...which makes it perfect for Fran.

When she’s not keeping records for the family catfish business, this fifth-generation farm girl is likely working on community projects. Her community, which stretches from Browns 30 miles east to Selma, is her hobby. She’s active in the Black Belt Action Commission, Arts Revive and her church.

I happened to find her one day last week over at Selma’s Ceramics Arts Center, where she was helping plan the Arts Revive booths for Riverfront Market Day. “I’m not an artist, but I appreciate very much what arts bring— life and fun to the whole community!” she says.

As a member of the Black Belt task force, she’s had the opportunity to travel around the region. “It’s really fun seeing what art is doing to revive these counties. We are a gold mine!” she adds, mentioning cultural sites such as the Gees Bend Quilters, Marion’s antiques alley and Selma’s historic homes. She sometimes takes her grandchildren along, such as a recent trip to Gees Bend to watch the quilters, then to cross the Alabama River on the Gees Bend Ferry.

Meanwhile, she and husband David’s two sons are raising their children on the farm, too…making them the sixth and seventh generations to live there. It's a life that keeps them working outdoors and puts them a long way from school and church and big-city malls. But then, they awaken to morning mists that rise above the water and retire in the reflection of magnificent sunsets. Now that's a culture apart!

Photo: Jackson and Mary Ashlyn Pearce, front, with friend John Ross Bone ride the Gees Bend Ferry across the Alabama River.

Here's Fran's recipe:

Sweet & Sour Beans

Fran Pearce

8 bacon strips cooked & drained
2 medium onions diced
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup vinegar
1 can (28 oz) baked beans undrained
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans rinsed & drained
1 can (15 ½) pinto beans rinsed & drained
1 can (15 oz) lima beans rinsed & drained
1 can (15 ½ oz) black-eyed peas rinsed & drained

Pour all of the beans into a crockpot. Sauté onions until tender. Add brown sugar, salt, mustard, garlic powder, & vinegar to the sautéed onions. Bring to a boil. Pour over beans. Cook on high 3 to 4 hours. Makes 15 to 20 generous servings.


Rose Mary said...

Yum, thanks for the recipe! I have one like that but I've never tried that combination of beans. Sounds delicious!

Chitweed said...

Definitely going to try this over the weekend... and if its as good as it sounds I'll make another pot to take to the labor day picnic. Thanx for the recipe.

JANET said...

Thank you for visiting and for your comments. I was also thinking this dish would be great for Labor Day...a lot of food and not much labor!

2 LMZ FARMS said...

Will have to try that. Sounds awesome. Yup, we also have black dirt around here also with red dirt that we call gumbo. Next time you come through let me know and we will visit. Hope you and yours have a blessed evening.

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

That is a unique pot of beans... I may have to give it a try!
Have a good Labor Day!

JANET said...

Hi Laura. Gumbo is a good name for that combination! We live on red clay and sandy loam, but the Blackland Prairie isn't far away. I've also discovered that the Black Belt dirt isn't all black. Some of the prairie clays are red, white and brown!

Sandi, hope you won't be laboring at the cafe on Labor Day!
Thanks for your comments.

Susie Q said...

This looks like an amazing recipe! Something I think I will try this evening for our cook out. I am so glad you popped into my blog. Thank you for your sweet comment and I love that it led me here!
I have been reading through everything for quite awhile now and am enjoying it all so much!
I will be back often and have book marked it just so I can!

I hope you will be back to visit me...I love meeting new friends via the blog community!


Cris said...

Hi Janet! I was just stopping by to wish you a happy Labor Day, and you show me this beautiful recipe... wow... :-)

the feathered nest said...

That recipe has my mouth watering! I've gotta try it - I love crockpot recipes!


2 LMZ FARMS said...

Thought about you today. Yup, we had another cookout, and yes, we fried Hope you and yours have a blessed evening.

JANET said...

Thank you all for stopping in!

Susie Q, glad to have you visit, and thanks for the bookmark.

Cris, so glad you like this recipe. There are some good cooks in our area, so I am always on the lookout for something different to fix!

To The Feathered Nest: I like crockpot dishes too!

2lmzfarms: Well, we went over to West Alabama to my father-in-law's where it rained most of the day. Good food but no catfish...glad y'all got to have a catfish fry!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Yum Yum! My grandmother's baked beans were very much like these!