Doin' It Halfway Since 1996

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

Easy Peasy Recipe: Ham and Beans

So, the other night, I fixed the easiest, most simple (and probably cheapest meal) I have in my recipe collection. I don’t think it’s particularly special to my family and probably pretty common.

Ham and Beans. This isn’t really my recipe, but my grandmother’s. Though, I’ve modified it so I can use my fancy schmancy new fangled kitchen gadget, the slow cooker.

Anytime I eat this, it conjures memories of walking through my grandparents’ door, to be greeted by the smells of leftover Thanksgiving goodness and love. In fact, every time I make it, I find myself relocating for five minutes to the ten year-old version of myself and sitting across from my grandfather at the dinner table. One of the important elements of my relationship with my grandfather was his attempt to pull me out of my perpetual grumpiness. Eating this meal reminds me always of his calling me a grump lovingly and jokingly until I finally pulled out of my prepubescent emotional slump and laughed alongside him.

As a child, I used to imagine my great-grandmother, who I remember mostly from pictures, teaching my grandmother how to make a good pot of ham and beans. As a young woman, on a visit home from college, I inquired of my grandmother how to make it. And she taught me. Later, when I married, I realized how integral this same meal was to my husband’s fondness of his grandmother as well. So it has become a favorite of ours, and now of our girls’. It’s almost a family legacy in a bowl.

Tonight is the first time I’ve made this meal since the tragedy. And it’s making me miss my grandpa. It’s making me miss the house that was a childhood haven. It’s making me miss my family.

It’s making me reflect on all the love my grandparents showed me through my life. It’s making me thankful for the time I had with Grandpa and encouraging me to spend more time with Grandma.

I share this recipe so that you can also enjoy some good old comfort in a bowl.

I always save the bone with some meaty pieces from our holiday meals (generally Thanksgiving, Christmas, and/or Easter). It’s a trick that grandma taught me. I put it in a zip lock bag and freeze it until I’m ready to make this meal.

Ham and Beans

1 Ham Bone with meaty pieces

2 cups dry navy beans

1/4 cup chopped onion (any variety will do – this time I used red because it’s what I had)

1/4 chopped green pepper

The night before, rinse and sort 1 cup dry navy beans. If you need a good tutorial on how to do that, visit this tutorial – just ignore the part when it come to cooking them.

Soak them in eight cups of water in the slow cooker overnight (don’t turn on the slow cooker, just let the beans soak).

In the morning, pour the beans and water into a strainer. Remove any split, broken, or shriveled beans. Give the beans one more quick rinse.

Dump the beans back into the slow cooker and cover with eight more cups of water.

Add the ham bone, onion, and pepper. You can add salt and pepper, if you’d like. I find the ham salty enough to flavor the beans.

Cook on low for eight hours or on high for six hours.

When the beans finish cooking, remove the bone (and any tendons that come off) and shred any big meaty pieces, returning the meat to the slow cooker with the beans.

Serve with your favorite cornbread and Enjoy!


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