This is a dish my Mom used to make and she never wrote down the recipe. I cobbled together a couple different versions I found and have come pretty close to her version. It’s somewhere between a soup and a stew, and goes perfectly with cornbread. My Dad used to take a piece of cornbread, put a thin slice of red onion on it, and then cover it in the ham & beans.
It’s tasty, filling, and even better the next day. Though there is some chopping, the overall prep isn’t too bad. The cooking time goes on for a bit, but you’re not standing over the stove the whole time by any means. Usually I’d say this is a great “middle of the winter” dish – and it is – but it was sunny & in the high 70s yesterday and it was still great. 🙂
Full instructions after the jump!
Ham, Beans & Cornbread
1 pound dried Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight or via the quick soak method and drained.
1-2 ham hocks (depends on size, I use 2) or a good sized ham bone
~3/4 c. chopped carrots
~3/4 c. chopped celery
~3/4 c. chopped onion (sweet or white – I’ve used both)
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed
2-4 c. water
2-4 c. chicken stock
1 lb. ham steak, diced or shredded
ground black pepper
Cornbread (it’s not required, but goes very well with it!)
Sweat the onions, garlic and celery over medium low heat with about half the ham steak pieces. (The ham adds a little more fat for the aromatics to happily bathe in, and it smells heavenly.)
Once the onions are soft, add the ham hocks, the rest of the ham steak, 2 cups of water and 2 cups of stock. (That was how much was needed to cover everything in liquid.)
Bring to a boil. (Takes 10-15 minutes.)
Add the beans, carrots and a few shakes of black pepper, and if needed, a little more water if the beans aren”t covered by liquid.
Give it all a good stir and bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat to low and cover.
Check about every 30 minutes and add more liquid (half water/stock) if needed.
Simmer for 1 to 2 hours or until beans are tender. When the skin on the beans splits when you blow on them, they are supposedly done. But it also depends on how you like your soup beans cooked – for this dish I like mine to the point where they’re pretty much overcooked. Just keep tasting. 🙂
Once the beans are done to your liking, remove the ham hocks and serve.