Friday, October 26, 2012

Ham and Beans

Photo courtesy Taste of Home
   Our son that now lives in California told me once, that the dish that reminds him the most of home (the Midwest) is ham and beans. I was surprised at that one. But beans and cornbread, that's a natural pairing, like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump would say. 
   He called one day and while we were talking, he told me that his manager at work (who just happens to be from Indy) had just made some ham and beans for her husband's bar that was "to die for." Who would've thought? 
   So he got the recipe for me to try and he was right - it was really good. I'd never tried bay leaves in beans before, but that was OK. I'm up for new ideas. The family really liked the ham steak bits (I usually use scraps of any form.) The ham hocks were also a great added flavor. This is a step I often skip, but it does make such a difference. This is a great beginner "how to" recipe on a Midwestern classic.

Ham and Beans
1 pkg. navy beans
1 large onion, diced
1 pkg. ham hocks
1 ham steak, cubed
2 T. salt
1 T. pepper
6 bay leaves

   Soak beans in salted water over night. Drain. Cover with water and add 2 T. salt, onion, ham hock, pepper and bay leaves. 

   Cook on medium heat until beans are tender, about an hour.  Remove ham hock and add ham steak. Cook on low to medium 3 hours, adding water every 30 minutes as needed. Remove bay leaves before serving. Makes a bunch (8-10 servings).
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