Bean Surprise – Mid-Century Recipe Guest Test Sunday

Posted on Jan 5 2014 - 5:00am by Erica

Bean Surprise! The surprise is… um… that there are things besides beans in it? Or perhaps the surprise is that there are beans in it.


I promise they’re in there. Somewhere.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Bean Surprise
Serves: 4
  • 4 firm tomatoes
  • 1 can Ann Page Beans in tomato sauce with pork
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 2 slices bacon, cut in half
  1. Cut a slice from top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp.
  2. Combine pulp, beans, onion and pepper. Fill tomatoes with mixture.
  3. Top with bacon. Place in shallow pan, add remaining filling.
  4. Bake in moderate oven, 375°F., about 30 minutes. 4 servings.


So I was reading that ingredient list. And I realized that while we have “baked beans” in the cupboard, I didn’t know what exactly “beans in tomato sauce with pork” was supposed to be. I went off to the grocery store and took a good long look through the canned beans section, and (finally) realized it’s just “pork and beans,” which are generally canned with tomato sauce. I guess that wasn’t a fancy enough name for our friend Ann Page.

A&P had its heyday well before I was making this, so we are using some other brand of pork and beans.


Buzz sliced tops off tomatoes and scooped out pulp.


And four tomatoes, even medium-small tomatoes, makes a whole lotta pulp. Once again: I swear there are beans in there somewhere.


We dutifully stuffed the tomatoes, poured tomato-bean stuff all around, and slapped some bacon on top. (Is it just me, or are retro recipes terrified of chopping up bacon to make it bite-size?)


Buzz dug right in. Can’t fault the man’s enthusiasm…


Despite this extremely unimpressed expression, he kept eating it and cleaned his plate.

The Verdict: Not bad. Very fresh and bright thanks to all the veggies.

Tasting Notes:

Tasted fine. Tomato was kind of underdone. Think of very fresh salsa with no seasoning mixed with a can of beans. Pretty heavy on the onion, cut back if you want to try it yourself. And why the hell is this served in a tomato?

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Erica was inspired to learn to cook by a complete lack of home economics classes in high school, and a love of old books. When using antique cookbooks to teach herself some skills, she realized a lot of the recipes were pretty strange by modern standards. All that fun testing just begged to be shared with the world. Regular recipe testing can be found here on Mid-Century Menu, on Erica's Retro Recipe Attempts blog, and also I Ate The 80's.

5 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. dkzody January 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    This sounds pretty good. I might add some chile pepper or fresh jalapeño to it.

    • Erica Retrochef January 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Absolutely spice it up! There’s no point in denying this is just salsa mixed with pork ‘n’ beans 😀

  2. Taryn Nicole January 8, 2014 at 5:47 am - Reply

    Hi Erica, I’m loving all of your guest posts on here! And these look great. Cheers, Taryn. xx

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks Taryn! We’re certainly having fun making twice the retro craziness as usual…

  3. Barbara February 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    No. No, no, no, no, no.

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