Now that the weather has turned toward the century mark in Sacramento, I'm no longer preparing soup each day at lunch. A hearty salad works in the place of soup most days.
My challenge is to maintain interest in the salads that I serve. I do this by offering a new salad each day. Each salad is built around new and interesting ingredients.
Aside from the tradition macaroni, potato and tomato salads, I plan to incorporate ingredients like beans, corn, cous cous, celery root and mangoes into lunchtime salads. Up to this point, I've introduced several salsa varieties, including mango, roasted red pepper, cucumber and melon and citrus.
This recipe comes to 'Round the Chuckbox by way of the June 30, 2010 edition of The Sacramento Bee (Taste Section, page D4). The summer recipe was part of a recipe spread for Independence Day.
The recipe for barbecue bacon and bean salad caught my eye because it presented flavors that I enjoy -- beans, bacon and barbecue sauce. I worked it up for 25 servings and substituted celery for fennel, a flavor that the ladies aren't too keen on.
BARBECUE BACON AND BEAN SALAD
Two pounds dry white beans will give approximately 3 quarts of cooked beans. One #10 can or 8 (15-ounce) cans of white beans, drained, will give the same yield.
2 pounds bacon, diced
1 pound chopped onion
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 cups prepared barbecue sauce
2 pounds frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3 quarts cooked white beans
8 ounces celery, diced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Cook bacon in a heavy skillet for about 4 minutes. Add onion and continue cooking until bacon is crispy and onion tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Drain most of grease, leaving the bacon and onions in the pan. Stir in smoked paprika and barbecue sauce. Transfer to a bowl and cool.
In a large bowl, mix together corn, beans and celery. Mix in the cooled bacon mixture, tossing well. Sprinkle in the cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped chives or parsley.
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