Food: White beans and summer barbecue go hand in hand

Kate Lawson
The Detroit News

What’s a summer barbecue without baked beans? I had almost forgotten. Honestly, I was never a fan of those tomato-ey, sugary sweet baked beans that were the ubiquitous picnic table item. The sauce was cloying and the beans always seemed overcooked. I usually took a pass.

Then my mother found a recipe for white baked beans, using great northern beans, bacon, onions and a little sugar. She added a dash of yellow mustard and a splash of apple cider vinegar and I swear I could have eaten the whole casserole dish. We never had those molasses, tomato baked beans again — and no one ever complained.

Last weekend when neighbors joined us for grilled burgers, I decided it would be a picnic-style meal — even though the temperatures kept us from dining al fresco. I made deviled eggs using small eggs from my daughter’s chickens and coleslaw and was considering potato salad when I suddenly remembered my mother’s recipe. I baked the beans ahead of time and reheated them before dinner. It was the perfect addition — and almost as delicious as the peach blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream that I served for dessert. So glad I saved room and didn’t eat the entire bean casserole.

White Baked Beans

2 (15.5 ounce) cans great northern beans

1/2 pound bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 dash yellow mustard

1 dash apple cider vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste

Drain small amount of liquid off of beans. Cook bacon until done, crumble bacon.

Drain grease from pan (reserving enough to fry onions).

Fry chopped onion and bacon in grease until onions are soft.

Mix with rest of ingredients.

Bake in a greased baking dish for 1 hour at 350 degrees uncovered. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 268 calories; 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 27 percent calories from fat); 39 g carbohydrates; 19 g sugar; 14 mg cholesterol; 674 mg sodium; 11 g protein; 5 g fiber.