Sweet and Sour Beans

After sharing my fabulous pie crust yesterday, a cousin of mine asked if there were any recipes that my mother was famous for. You know, the dish that was expected when someone invited her to a pot-luck. My cousin said that her mother, my Aunt Betty, was best known for her home-baked bread. I still remember a particular Christmas cookie made by an aunt we shared, Aunt Gertrude. She always had a variety layed out but the one I loved was a sugar cookie with a dolop of chocolate in the center pressed down by a pecan. I have seen such cookies since, but candy kisses were used for the chocolate dolop, a terrible substitution, terrible.

My mother’s dish-to-pass was sweet and sour green beans or German potatoe salad. I believe she used the same recipe for the sauce for the beans or dressing for the salad. In fact, she frequently made ‘wilted lettuce” with the same dressing. She said anyone who knows how to make a white sauce can make it. I think the fancy chefs would call it a roux. I share the recipe here out of my daughter-in-law’s first recipe book, Love the Kitchen. She didn’t give the credit to my mom. I think she just thought it was mine but it really came from Fran, Aunt Fran, my mother.

Here is the recipe for sweet and sour green beans:

1/2 pound bacon
4 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4  cups apple cicer vinegar, scant
(mom probably used white vinegar)
3 or 4 cans green beans, drained
1/4 cup of the green bean juice from the can or as much as you need to create a thick sauce
(my mom claimed this was the “secret” part of her recipe)

Fry bacon until crispy and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Drain the grease leaving about 4 Tbsp. Stirring over a medium heat, gradually add the flour. When this is thoughly blended, add the sugar, vinegar and bean juice. Bring to a low simmer until the sauce thickens. Add the green beans – I like to mix some into the beans and add a few on the top when I am ready to serve it.

As I wrote this out, I found myself making changes. I suspect that I may have dictated it to Wendy over the phone as she was putting the book together. I tried to be more specific here.

Wendy’s books can be found at www.jeubfamily.com – resources.


2 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Beans”

  1. Lovely to have some family recipes! While I did not get Betty’s cook book, I was able to get some hand written recipes. While she was famous to us kids for her bread recipe, she was better known at potlucks for her American potato salad and her pies. Like you, I find myself doctoring those recipes up. The potato salad was good, but a little bland so I added mustard as well as mayonnaise and some horseradish. Sometimes I would cut up radishes to add more crunch. For the pies, Moms pie crust was made with Mazola oil and she was specific about that on the recipe card. No butter or lard in this. I know some of the other cousins don’t bake the pies or make the bread so wish they would share mom’s cook book with others who do bake!

    1. My mom never, never made homemade bread. She wasn’t a baker. But she made doughnuts out of ballard bisquits. She used a tampon plastic for cutting the doughnut holes. When we gasped, she said, “Oh for goodness sake. It isn’t a used one.”

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