Potluck : Do You Feel Lucky?


A potful of these beans disappeared in a flash at a summer barbecue. The recipe is based loosely on one by Anders Strandberg of Gustaf Anders Restaurant in Santa Ana. Anders added the nutmeg, and I put in the bacon, onion and Chinese thick soy sauce, a molasses-based condiment that turns the beans a rich golden brown (Look for Koon Chun brand in Chinese markets).


1 pound small navy beans


1 small onion

2 slices bacon, diced

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup dark corn syrup

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon Chinese thick soy sauce, about

Wash beans thoroughly and drain. Place in Dutch oven and add 8 cups hot water. Cover loosely and let stand overnight.

Next day, bring beans and soaking liquid to boil. Add more water if needed to cover beans generously. Add whole peeled onion and bacon. Reduce heat, cover loosely and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes for small beans, longer for larger beans.


Add brown sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, salt and nutmeg. Stir lightly to mix. Blend cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water. Gradually add to bean liquid, stirring constantly while adding. Simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until thickened. Mixture should be moderately soupy, but not fluid. Stir in enough thick sauce to produce pleasing brown color. Makes about 8 cups.