I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday season spent with family and friends. We were able to spend some time with family and are now back home with a few days before we have to get back to the usual routine. With the New Year coming upon us, I thought I’d share a little recipe that is a New Year’s tradition in my family. My grandma Marie was a wee bit superstitious and one New Year’s tradition that she never missed was fixing ham and beans. This is supposed to bring luck in the new year. My dad jokes that when he and his seven siblings were little, they were so poor that grandma just waved the ham bone over top of the soup pot and called it ham and beans. I remember there being actual ham in there with those beans when we would stop by grandma’s on New Years for our traditional meal. When I fix a ham (which is always smoked on the grill). I can’t remember the last time I made one in the oven. Try it on the grill and you’ll be hooked just like my father in law and myself! Here’s more details on smoking a ham. Basically you are just heating up the ham to 160°F since it’s already precooked and giving it that hint of smokey flavor by using whatever wood chips you like. I like bone in hams because I freeze the ham bone and some of that leftover smoked ham meat so I can make ham and beans whenever I get that craving, or if New Year is upon us! Did you make a holiday ham? If so, grab that ham bone and get started. If not, go out and grab one and serve it ASAP and then use that ham bone and leftover ham for this recipe.
There’s many ways you can make Ham and Beans. I prefer to use dry Great Northern Beans, so I can control the sodium content, but these do take a little longer to cook. You can even soak the beans overnight in water to really help them get tender. You can also use canned or jarred beans which are pre cooked.
Ham and Beans
1 lb dry Great Northern Beans
1 medium onion – diced
1 cooked ham bone and leftover ham meat
Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Rinse and strain the beans discarding any possible stones and pour them into a large pot, or slow cooker. You can either cover these with cold water and soak over night or for an hour or two before you start making your ham and beans. Drain the beans, dump the water and return the beans to the pot or slow cooker.
Add in the diced onion, and pepper.
Add in the ham bone and leftover ham pieces and then add 6 C of water.
If using slow cooker, cook covered on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours or until the beans are tender. If cooking on the stove, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer on low for 4-6 hours or until beans are tender. The ham will mostly fall off the bone in little pieces or shreds.
Once the beans are tender, remove the ham bone, cut off any meat still remaining on bone and add that back in with the beans. Discard the ham bone. Give the Ham and Beans a stir, and a taste and add salt as needed. Salt can slow down the cooking time of beans so that’s why I add it last.
I think it is mandatory that you must serve corn bread along with your ham and beans. So make up your corn bread and whip up some homemade honey butter and let the comfort food begin!