Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nobody Wants My Ham and Beans Recipe

I mentioned ham and beans in yesterday's post, which prompted Nobody™ to ask if I have a good recipe for them. I don't really have a recipe, in that I don't usually measure the ingredients. But I remember writing about ham and beans long, long ago on a faraway blog, and was able to retrieve this pseudo-recipe.

As an aside, my paternal grandma's beans usually turned out with a thick, hazy soup, like mine this picture. My maternal grandma's beans always had a clear amber broth. I'm not sure how she did it; I've only had it happen once or twice, by accident. Anyone out there know the secret?

Great Northern Bean Soup

1 lb. dry Great Northern Beans (or pintos, or really, any dry bean you like)
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon (approximately) bacon fat or olive oil (for flavor and to reduce foaming)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic, if desired
pepper to taste
1 meaty ham bone or about 1 cup diced, cooked ham*

Sort through beans, removing any shriveled or discolored beans, small stones or pieces of dirt. Rinse well and put in a Dutch oven.

Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for several hours. The time will depend on the type of bean you are using, how fresh the beans are, etc. Check often to make sure the beans are covered with at least 1" of water.

When beans are tender, taste, then adjust seasonings as desired. If you used a ham bone, pick the meat from the bone and return it to the pot, then discard the bone.

Serve with hot buttered cornbread.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

*If no ham is available, you can cook the beans with smoked sausage, cooked pork sausage, or lean bacon. Shane prefers to have pan-fried ham on the side, so most often I cook beans with no meat at all.


Heather said...

I cook beans nearly the same way and look forward to holidays for the ham bone. :)

Annie Jones said...

Hi Heather! I used to have you linked here and somehow I'd lost the link when I was redoing some things I have missed visiting you and Ivy. I plan to catch up with your blog later today :)