The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Wood
The Times 


Grandma Violet's Calico Beans


Teeny is on vacation so I (Dena) am filling in for her. She's asked repeatedly if I have any good recipes and I've told her that my grandma's bean recipe is a favorite.

Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to send it to her. (She even made a subtle reference to that in her column a couple of weeks ago.) Anyway, I told her I'd handle things while she's on vacation. I think she's still skeptical since she sent in a "repeat" recipe "in case of emergency." (At least she's polite about it!)

My recipe card just says "Calico Beans." I looked online and there are several very similar versions. But these are the ones Grandma Violet used to make, and I know she'd enjoy having a recipe printed in her name. She's no longer with us, but I remember sitting in many a waiting room, watching her copy recipes from magazines and stick them in her purse.


½ lb. ground beef

½ lb. bacon

1 chopped onion

1 can pork & beans

1 can butter beans, drained

1 can northern beans, drained

1 can kidney beans, drained


½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 cup catsup

1 tsp vinegar

Cut the bacon in small pieces and brown with the ground beef and onion. Drain and pour into a slow cooker. Add all the beans to the slow cooker. (Drain all but the pork & beans.) In a bowl, mix the sugars, catsup and vinegar. Pour sauce into the slow cooker and stir all ingredients together. Cook on low for four hours or high for six hours, stirring every so often.

My notes:

I have NEVER made a 'single' batch of this recipe. A double batch fills a large slow cooker, but you'll be surprised at how quickly it gets eaten up, and it makes great leftovers. I usually make these for picnics, potlucks or BBQs. They're also a great main dish with cornbread.

This is a sweet bean recipe. You could use less sugar if you prefer them less sweet.

It can be tricky to find Butter Beans. Danny almost always has them on hand at Waitsburg Grocery, but I usually can't find them in the chain stores. The last time I was in Walmart, they had Mini Butter Beans. I'm sure they would taste the same, but the big, flat beans make for an interesting look and texture in the original recipe.

I'm sure you could cook these on low on the stove as well, and I know you can leave them sitting on low in a slow cooker all day. Enjoy!


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