As a kid, I had a very specific list of foods I didn’t like. Some of them have stuck around in that “yuck” category into adulthood (I’m still just barely starting to tolerate flavors like ginger and soy sauce), but the vast majority of foods on my childhood dislike list have happily found themselves on my weekly grocery list. In fact, some of them I even consider some of my favorite foods (onions, mustard, sauerkraut—hi, can you tell I have German heritage?).
One food that I always moaned, groaned, and pitched a fit when I saw it simmering away on the stove was ham and beans. As a kid, something about the soft and tender beans and salty ham made me want to go running for the hills. A few times a year, Mama would try out ham and beans on me again, and every time, without fail, I’d try a bite and my face would contort into some sourpuss look. No dice.
She stopped even trying sometime in middle school. And honestly, I hadn’t really thought about ham and beans until I started a food blog! One of you awesome people requested I come up with some cheap dinner recipes and for some reason, the subconscious part of my brain immediately said, “ham and beans.”
Doesn’t that just sound like a cheap meal? And then, immediately after, my brain said, “But you don’t like ham and beans.” Which then totally confused my brain. Because I like ham. And I like beans. So how can I not like ham ‘n’ beans? My brain was smoking by this point.
So while visiting my parents, I took mental notes on Mama’s recipe and whipped up my own slow cooker batch. And guess what? I loved it. Move another food off the childhood hate list. You gotta make sure to serve this up with cornbread. And eat it curled up on the couch next to a roaring fire. Promise me.
This recipe is the epitome of cool weather comfort food and is the perfect dish to make the day after a big family ham dinner. Just remember to save the ham bone and reserve a bit of the meat!
- 1 pound navy beans (or Great Northern beans)
- 1 large onion, diced (about 1 ¾ cup)
- 3 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large smoked ham hock (or ham bone)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup chopped ham
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Soak the beans in water (the water should rise a few inches above the beans) overnight. Drain beans before ready to cook.
- Add the beans, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaf and ham hock to the slow cooker.
- Fill the slow cooker with water until just barely covering the beans.
- Cover and slow cook for 5 ½ -6½ hours on high, or 7 ½ -8½ hours on low until beans have softened and begin to fall apart.
- Remove the ham hock or bone from the slow cooker and strip off any meat. Chop and add the meat to the slow cooker along with the Italian seasoning, remaining chopped ham, salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
Top the soup with sliced green onions and serve with a crusty slice of sourdough bread for the ultimate comfort food!
- Category: Soups