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My Aunt Joanne and Uncle Bob's baked beans

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    My Aunt Joanne and Uncle Bob's baked beans

    Last month we were in Pittsburgh visiting family, and we met with my Aunt Joanne. My Uncle Bob died a few years ago. He was a bit of a recluse; when I was young, back in the '60s, he was my favorite uncle, but then he got some health problems, and eventually shunned visitors. I don't think I saw Bob and Joanne more than three or four times in the last 40 years. But here's the kind of guy he was: he played boogie woogie piano and drove a Porsche 912 that he bought new in 1966. It was his daily driver when he died 4 years ago, not that he drove much.

    It turns out that Bob loved to cook, and he had some prized recipes. About a week ago, I received a letter from Joanne, and she included two recipes. This one is titled, "Aunt Nonda Carson's Recipe". I googled it and found no matches.

    I made it the other night. My wife says this is the kind of recipe that wins prizes. It's pretty doggone good.

    1 lb ground beef
    1/2 cup chopped green pepper
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    32 oz of canned baked beans (the recipe says Campbell's, I used Bush's because I already had them)
    1 8oz can tomato sauce
    1 tsp vinegar ( I used apple cider vinegar)
    1 tsp dry mustard
    1 small pinch thyme
    1 Tbsp brown sugar

    Brown meat in a skillet. Drain off grease and transfer meat to a casserole dish. Saute pepper, onion, and celery until limp/translucent, add garlic and saute another minute or two, and add to the beef. Mix the remaining ingredients (except beans) in a small jar; cap it, shake it, and add the mix to the beef. Stir thoroughly. Fold in the baked beans. Cover the casserole and bake at 350* for an hour.

    Some notes:

    The mix of ingredients reminds me of a lot of Sloppy Joe recipes I've seen. Not as tomatoey, but it's the same family of flavor.

    This looks like a recipe that can be a starting point for some amazing variations. Add 8 oz of your favorite bbq sauce instead of the tomato sauce; add a pinch of cumin instead of the thyme; use pulled pork instead of the ground beef. Use jalapenos instead of green peppers. Make it according to the recipe, but instead of mixing in the brown sugar, sprinkle it over top. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination (and taste buds).

    This recipe is probably pretty old, I'd guess from the 50s or 60s, judging from the ingredients. I'm 60. Bob was in his late 70s when he died. This is the kind of thing that got taken to pot luck suppers back then, sort of like something that would be omitted from James Lilek's Gallery of Regrettable Food; in the cookbook, but not regrettable, thus not making the gallery.

    Anyhow, I made it, we scarfed the heck out of it, I'm making it again. I'm taking it to pot luck dinners.
    Last edited by Mosca; November 4, 2014, 03:37 PM. Reason: to fix punctuation

    Loooks great!


      Mos, Thank you for sharing this. Great story. I'm printing this out to have in my BBQ book.


        Hey Mos... this link from Regrettable Food is FUNNY! Pour on the Glorious Outdoors >> http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/outdoors/index.html

        BBQ Myth or Reality is pretty funny too! >>

        Thanks for mentioning that site!
        Last edited by smarkley; November 4, 2014, 06:59 PM.


          Great recipe! Made a few times so far with ground turkey and it's delicious. Probably better with some smoked butt, thanks for the recipe.



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