Four Bean Salad

We’ve all made 3-Bean Salad in the past or at least seen it on salad bars.  It has the mild pickled taste that most people like and it is easy to throw together.  I first tasted this particular version of the salad when a friend brought it over and we shared a small dish with our lunch.  This salad has an extra bean and a little twist that gives it a unique taste.  I coudn’t put my finger on it until my friend sent me the recipe and I realized it was the toasted sesame oil.  This is now my new favorite bean salad.

Ingredients:

1 15oz can of black beans

1 15oz can of garbanzo beans

1 15oz can of kidney beans

1 15oz can of green beans (I used a pint of my home canned)

1 small onion sliced thin (sweet or red)

3/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

Ok.  This is pretty simple.  Open the 4 cans of beans and drain.

Whisk together the sugar, oils and vinegars.

In a large bowl combine the beans and sliced onion.  Add the dressing and toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sample some, of course.

Refrigerate and serve chilled.  If you need a passing dish for a potluck or a simple side for a barbeque this salad is perfect and so easy to make.

Enjoy!

My friend’s recipe included 1/2 tsp of tarragon.  I omitted it because it is not one of my favorite herbs.  But if it’s a favorite of yours, by all means add it.  James Beard, a very famous chef and cookbook author, is quoted as saying, “I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.”  That quote doesn’t make me like it any more.  Tarragon is one of the herbs considered essential in French cooking.  I used to think I was part French until I sent my DNA to Ancestory.com.     Perhaps my dislike of tarragon should have been my first clue that I’ve no French in my DNA. And I think this recipe is great without the tarragon.

NOTE:  You can change up your beans based on personal preference or what you have on hand.  I have a friend who dislikes kidney beans so she could substitute butter beans, cannalini beans or navy beans.

Southern Style Green Beans

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Might not be the healthiest green beans but they are really yummy.  Good things happen when you add bacon to things.  My daughter always says, evereything is better with butter and bacon.  I think I agree.  I got this recipe from an old friend who no longer speaks to me.  Glad she shared the recipe before she stopped talking to  me.  There are loads of fresh green beans available right now and this makes a perfect side to almost any main dish.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans cut into 2-3 inch pieces

4 slices of bacon diced

1 medium sweet onion diced

1 T reserved bacon drippings

2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 cup water

1 T brown sugar

1 T cider vinegar

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Steam green beans just until tender.  If you have someone in your family who likes their green beans overcooked, keep steaming until you consider them done.  Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Drain and reserve about 1 T of bacon drippings.

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Cook diced onion in the reserved drippings until tender but not browned.

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Whisk together cornstarch, salt, mustard and water.  Stir into the onions and simmer until thickened.  Happens quickly.

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Stir in brown sugar and vinegar.

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Add the steamed green beans and heat thoroughly.

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Top with bacon bits and serve immediately.

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I served the green beans with lightly breaded and baked lake trout but these would be excellent with pork chops, meat loaf, fried chicken.

NOTE:  My mother always saved bacon drippings in a metal container that said
“GREASE” on it.  She kept it in the cupboard, unrefrigerated.  It had a kind of basting brush in the container and she would brush the top of fresh baked bread with it, grease baking casseroles, etc.  All of the savory dishes we use PAM for she used her container of bacon grease.  And we all lived to tell about it.  I still save bacon drippings and use them frequently to saute onions and other veggies.  However, I keep my bacon drippings in the refrigerator.