La What Now?

Since the 1960s, baseball teams and players have been publishing cookbooks. I collect them and try out some of the recipes that major leaguers have shared with their fans over the years. Photos, recipes and comments included.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Calico Beans - Rusty Kuntz (Outfielder)


1 large can baked beans
2 large cans kidney beans
1 can lima beans (drained)
1 cup butter beans
1 lb. bacon (drained)
3/4 lb. hamburger
1 pkg. sweet Italian sausage
1 onion
1 cup catsup
4 tbls. vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. regular mustard

Fry bacon, onion, hamburger and sausage together.  Add rest of ingredients in casserole dish.  Combine all.  Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve warm.
Eagle-eyed observers will note that Russell "Rusty" Kuntz continues to be spotted on Major League Baseball fields to this very day.  He presently serves as the first base coach for the Kansas City Royals, continuing a career-long circuit through the AL Central.
The AL Central didn't exist back in Kuntz's playing days, but he never strayed far from the midwest.  He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox and made his debut with them in 1979.  He was on the roster as a back up outfielder and started the 1983 season as a member of the White Sox.  That June, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins, thus missing out on being part of the Sox team that went to the post-season.
After finishing the '83 season in Minnesota, Kuntz was traded in the off-season to the Detroit Tigers.  Where he missed out in '83, Kuntz hit the jackpot as a member of the '84 World Series Champion Detroit Tigers.  He played sparingly for one more season, then was released.
This is one of those recipes that I skipped over for the longest time, never taking much interest in the name or the long list of legumes involved.  What a mistake!
When I finally got around to making this dish one lazy weekend, I was blown away by the result.  Sure, basically it's a bean and meat stew, less liquidy than chili but very similar in the ingredients.
The difference maker is the dry mustard.  I don't use it often enough to be overly familiar with how it blends with other food items, and found that it really stands out here.  The aroma that it adds to this dish made me glad for the crazy long list of beans involved.  If you use everything listed above, you end up with a large casserole dish full of fragrant goodness.  I stowed entire containers of the stuff in the freezer and went through it in small quantities.
FINAL SCORE - I can't wait to make this one again!

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