Now that the General Assembly has adjourned, attention is turning to the US Senate race of 2014. As we look at a new crop of leaders, comparisons to past leaders are inevitable.  And in comparisons of US Senators in North Carolina, Jesse Helms’ name always comes up.  A man of legend, inspiring speeches, a political kingmaker and a free enterprise and limited government legacy, Helms was loved and respected for his constituent service…..

And his recipe for Baked Lima Beans.  It’s a perfect accompaniment for grilled or baked meats and a welcomed addition to any political pot-luck dinner, Republican or Democratic- the Senator was both!

 2 Cups dried baby or small lima beans

! Cup canned tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Large green, red or yellow pepper, chopped

2 Tsp. kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried mustard

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

4-5 slices of bacon

2 quarts water

butter to cover dish

 Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain well and add 2 quarts of clean water and boil gently until tender.  Drain.  Mix beans and other ingredients except bacon.  Pour into buttered casserole dish (I use a 9 x13 glass baking dish). Place slices of bacon on top. Bake covered for 2 hours at 325 degrees.  Uncover last 20   minutes.  Add more water or chicken stock  if needed.