Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Bean Primer: Hillbilly Beans & Ham

I am posting another bean recipe. It is my goal to fill your recipe box with a few good bean dishes.

Beans forever!

This week I fixed The Muffin's favorite. Beans and Ham...specifically Great Northern Beans.

He's my Indiana boy so it is only fitting.

I generally use pinto beans or great northern beans when I fix this particular dish. The truth is that you can't mess up a bean with some ham.

Here is the thing.

I don't have any pics of my preparations.

I know! That's why any of you read my ramblings...cause my pictures are so stunning!

I apologize. I eventually found my camera on a chair in the living room. It had been used to record some sort of nostril shot. Josiah loves his nostril shots.

I won't share it. We are talking about food here.

Before I share the recipe I want to you tell you a few things I know about fixing beans this way.

1. I soak my beans, but not overnight. I like using a quick soak. I put a few inches of water over the beans and put them on the stove. I let them boil for a few minutes then turn off the stove. Then they sit for an hour or so. I then just rinse the beans and cook them in fresh water.

2. My favorite way to cook this particular recipe is on the stove. I cook my beans in a heavy pot. I have a set of 2 enamel pots I absolutely love. Many a bean has been cooked in those red pots. However, they are good in the crockpot, but the bean juice doesn't get as thick.

3. I let my beans come to a boil and then simmer until they are tender. It is advised to not salt the beans until they are almost done. Salt will make them tougher. I do add any other spice I might use at the beginning. It gives a chance for the beans to absorb all those good flavors.

4. I like using a ham bone to look along with my beans, but I will settle for any kind of salty meat. I just use what I have.

5. Keep an eye on your beans! You might need to a little bit of water now and again. You don't want them to get too dry. There is nothing like a burn pan of beans. And I mean that in a baaaddd way.

Okay. Here is the recipe. This is not a bean soup. These beans are meant to have over a big chunk of cornbread, along with a side of greens and fried potatoes. We also like to pass around chopped onions, jalapenos and hot sauce. Some of my hillbilly cohorts like to sprinkle some vinegar a top their beans.

1 pound dried beans
2 to 3 quarts of water
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 small onion
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Ham bone or ham pieces, bacon slices or fat back

I like to add a couple of bay leaves to my beans.

 Quick soak your beans. Cover again with water. Add the garlic and onion, bay leaves and ham. Bring the water to a boil.  Turn down the heat to medium low and cook until the beans are soft and just almost done, approximately 2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

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