Once in a while I admit to being a “heat and eat cook.” Here is a recipe that combines the convenience of opening cans for supper with the added flavors of freshly sautéd sausage, bacon and onion plus the zip provided by condiments that you are almost sure to have in your kitchen.
Lorrie emailed me a photo she took of the recipe for Roosevelt Beans printed on the menu at the Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. She was also kind enough to explain how she modified the recipe and even shared the results of her research about it. A comment about Roosevelt Beans on Recipelink states that Roosevelt Lodge got the recipe from a cookbook published by a Lutheran Church at McIntosh, Minnesota and attributes the dish to Naomi Jean Thompson (Hillgartner).
Considering the courage and ingenuity of the ladies who bring dishes to potlucks, I think it’s very likely that Naomi Jean did bring this bean casserole to church one Sunday morning and was urged to share the recipe with her friends and neighbors. A few days ago a lady told me that the “old” First Lutheran Church cookbook had the same or a very similar recipe, so it may be one invented by many different ladies once beans were being sold in cans.
I like both the name and flavor of this dish, it is easy to prepare and the different beans make it attractive. You can set it proudly on the potluck table or serve it as a main course for five or six with a salad and bread.
1/2 lb. country pork sausage
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium onion (2 1/2 inch diameter)
1 (16 oz.) can pork and beans
1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (16 oz.) can lima beans
1 (16 oz.) can butter bean
2 T brown sugar
2 T cider vinegar
1/2 to 1 tsp. garlic powder, optional
1/2 cup ketchup
1 T spicy brown mustard
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 325º and chop the onion into a half inch dice.
Cut the bacon into quarter inch pieces. Fry the sausage and bacon together over medium heat, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. When the sausage is about half done, add the onion and continue frying until the onion is translucent but not brown. Remove the meat mixture from the heat but don’t drain it.
Drain the liquid from the butter, kidney and lima beans and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add the can of pork and beans with their liquid. Stir in the meat mixture along with the sugar, vinegar, garlic, ketchup, mustard, black pepper and water. Add a little salt if you wish.
Transfer the beans to a three quart casserole and bake uncovered at 325º for forty-five minutes.
NOTES: Lorrie said that she used a cast iron skillet so she could use the same pan to fry the meat and onion and bake the casserole. I like one-dish recipes, but our cast iron skillets are not large enough.
Be very careful with the salt. The meats and beans have plenty of salt for us, but you may want to add a little. Some versions of Roosevelt Beans give you a choice of substituting ground beef for the sausage. In that case, I would definitely add at least a quarter teaspoon of salt.