Oh how I love Ham and Beans.
My sister and I grew up on them.
(Not the best picture I know. I should have cleaned up the bowl a little bit. But you know I was hungry. So I got started then remembered I should take a picture. lol)
Every holiday that ham was served, you knew that ham and beans would be on the menu soon after. It was inevitable. Our Dad would freeze the bone, then when the time was right, usually a cold, winter day (though not always) he would break it out and start up a big ‘ol pot of ham and beans. Oh so good!
I remember one year I was hosting Christmas for just us siblings (there’s 4 of us) and Dad. My sister and I decided to make ham and beans for dinner. That’s it. We kept it very simple that year. In fact, that may have been one of the first times I ever made it. Now, of course, I make it a few times a year…at least.
With the talk of Fall coming my mind has been on fall and winter dishes. There are so many recipes (Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Octoberfest Soup, Fresh Apple Cake, etc…) that I can’t wait to try but first I had, yes had, to make a pot of these delicious beans.
And so I did!
I tried to put a spin on it this time around but it didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped. I wanted to make it spicy. I’m a spicy kind of girl and I thought why not. I bought a big jalapeno, chopped up half of it and got intimidated. What if I don’t like it spicy? I mean, I’ve had ham and beans the same way all my life. What if I don’t want it changed? So I didn’t put in the other half. But I should have. I couldn’t find the heat in the finished product at all. Not one little bit.
Next time. Next time the whole jalapeno is going in. Yes it is. =)
Are you ready for the recipe? It’s an easy one.
Here is what you need.
Start by sorting through your beans. I do this while I’m rinsing them.
It’s a little time consuming but sometimes they can be dirty. I pick out any split or open beans while I’m at it.
Now dump all of the beans in your slow cooker. You can cook this on the stove but you would need to soak the beans over night first. I would rather let the slow cooker do all the work for me.
Now comes the easy part. Start adding the rest of your ingredients. It doesn’t really matter the order as long as it all gets in. I added my ham first.
Then the chopped onion, jalapeno and garlic went in.
Now season with salt, pepper and onion powder. I have a whole onion in there. I didn’t really need the onion powder. But I have always added it in. Sometimes I’ll even put in some garlic powder.
Now add in 6 cups of water.
Now this is the best part. It adds so much flavor. Really. Add in some ham hocks. I usually buy a package of 3. Just tuck them right in there.
Cover and let sit on low for at least 7 hours. As I’ve mentioned before I usually set my dishes on low for 9-10 hours while I’m at work.
Take the ham hocks out. They have done their job.
This is completely up to you but I like to pick out the meat that is still on the ham hocks. They will be steaming hot when they first come out. So you may want to let them cool a little before handling. I’ll be honest with you, you won’t get a lot of meat. These are mostly fat and bones. But the little meat that is there is oh so yummy.
At this point I do something that I’m sure most people don’t. Since I make my ham and beans in the slow cooker it is very soupy. I prefer my ham and beans to be a little thicker. I’m sure if they were cooked on the stove top this would happen automatically. But in the slow cooker, not so much. So I put a few scoopfuls of the cooking liquid in a small saucepan and let it boil on the stove to thicken.
I tell myself every time to put in less water so that maybe I won’t have to do this. I never do though.
Once the liquid is thickened to your desired consistency add it back in to your pot.
Time to eat. =)
This is what I couldn’t and didn’t wait for. lol I can seriously eat, and have, ham and beans every day for 5 or even 6 days in a row.
Here is the recipe.
Ham and Beans
- 1 lb dried beans (I’ve used pinto, navy and great northern beans. They all work the same. Just a different color in my opinion.)
- package of cubed ham
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- onion powder (optional)
- garlic powder (optional)
- 6 cups water
- 3 ham hocks
- Rinse and sort through your dried beans to pick out any bad ones. Add to the slow cooker.
- Place ham, onion, jalapeno and garlic in the slow cooker with the beans.
- Add onion powder and garlic powder if you like.
- Pour water in to cover beans and add ham hocks.
- Cover and cook on low for at least 7 hours.
- Pull the ham hocks out and pick off the meat. Discard the fat and bones. Add meat back to slow cooker.
- You can eat at this point but for me it is a little too soupy. So I take out a few scoopfuls and boil in a sauce pan until the desired thickness.
Every time I make this I think of my dad and sister. Such good memories. =)
Is there a recipe that brings back a happy memory for you?