I think ham and beans are something you either love or hate. Hubby loves them, I hate them. However I am a nice wife and make a big pot of ham and beans a couple of times of year for him. Today was one of those days and I thought I would share the recipe because they are very easy to make.
People have different beans they use for ham and beans. Hubby prefers white beans or Great Northern beans is how the label reads. If you like a different style of bean such as navy beans, pinto beans, etc. then by all means use what you like. The important part to the beans is letting them soak overnight. This will soften them up but it seems to also help those who eat the ham and beans not have gas as much – an important consideration for those who have to live with them! Do not skip the part of picking over the beans either to find rocks. This may sound silly in this day and age, but it happens. My grandma had an incident a few years ago where she had made bean soup and while she was eating she had thought she had broke a tooth. She spit out this little bit of what she thought was her tooth and made an appointment for the dentist the next day. The dentist chuckled because it was not a broken tooth, just a small rock that had been in the beans! Oops!
Ham hocks can be found in just about any grocery store. There are usually two ham hocks per package. Do not be afraid to use them, I promise people like them. Ham hocks are extremely flavorful and very inexpensive and crucial to ham and beans. If for some reason you do not want or have ham hocks you could use other leftover ham or a ham steak if you like. I sometimes will add a ham steak I have diced along with the ham hocks into the ham and beans for extra meatiness.
Hubby, and everyone else, seems to like having cornbread along with their ham and beans. He also likes to have a slice of raw white onion with ham and beans. I think that sharpness of the onion must cut through the creaminess of the ham and beans. This dish is even better the day after. It is perfect to cook one day in your slow cooker, then cool and refrigerate the ham and beans overnight. The next day you can place the ham and beans back in the slow cooker on low to heat up or just put them in a pot on the stove for faster heating.
Robyn’s Ham & Beans
- 1 bag of Great Northern white beans
- 2 ham hocks/shanks (found in pkg of 2 by other ham products in store usually, very inexpensive)
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped large
- 1 medium white onion, chopped large
- 2 medium carrots, chopped large
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed a bit
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock cups (those new gel type ones)
(you could use any other chicken base, bullion, etc. you have on hand too)
- 4 cups water
The night before open your beans and pick through them for any rocks or bad looking beans – it happens. Rinse them once, and then place in a bowl with cold water to just cover the beans by an inch or two. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a lid and let soak overnight. In the morning drain the beans and rinse well again. Remember that beans are not washed before they are packaged.
In a slow-cooker place your ham hocks right out of the package, now add the the remaining ingredients, including the soaked and rinsed beans. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours. I stir them once about half-way through the cooking. If you stir more you will smush the beans up – unless of course you like that then smush away!
These get better the next couple of days too Hubby says and he also says serve with cornbread!
On the left is the ham, veggies and seasoning. The right is with the beans before cooking.
Are you a fan of ham and beans? Want to share any tips from you recipe?
© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.