Sometimes, there is nothing better than coming home to the aroma of whatever happens to have been in the crockpot all day. This time, it happened to be beans, ham and onion.
Since the crockpot practically did most of the work for me (aside from the dirty bean prep!) the least I could do was make some cornbread to go with it.
And together, it was one amazing meal. And cheap–I’d guess that this whole meal (which could easily serve two people 2-3 dinners) cost around $7. Amazingly simple, amazingly economical. And super tasty.
The one thing I DO recommend: soaking the beans overnight. This is instead of doing the ‘quick soak’ method where you boil the dry beans and then let them sit out for an hour. While the overnight soak takes longer (package says 6-8 hours minimum), it’s worth it.
Here is what the long soak does, among other things:
- Cuts cooking time down significantly WHILE preserving nutrients beans provide
- Great way to ensure beans are clean (make sure to RINSE them after soaking, too!)
- Allows beans to cook more evenly
Aside from soaking/rinsing beans appropriately, the second important part of this recipe involves seasoning. And the only seasoning here we’re talking about is good ol’ salt and pepper.
But, as Chef Ann on Worst Cooks in America said the other night, “season like you mean it!” This dish is simple, so be sure salt and pepper help bring out the flavors.
Oh, and this is the first recipe I used for dry beans. What is your favorite recipe that involves dry beans? Which kind are they?
Crockpot beans & ham
[TOTAL COOKING TIME: 10-11 HOURS]
- 4-5 cups water
- 2 cups dry Great Northern beans
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 ham steak, cubed, bone-in or boneless
- 1 – 1/2 TSP salt, or to taste
- 1/2 TSP pepper, or to taste
- Prepare dry beans for the long soak (sort, rinse, soak). Let soak for minimum 8 hours, or overnight
- Discard soak water, rinse beans again, and put into crockpot.
- Place the rest of the ingredients into crockpot: ham cubes, diced onion, salt & pepper. Cover everything with 2-3 inches of fresh water.
- Place cover on crockpot; set on “low” for 10-11 hours or whenever beans are soft.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Allow for longer cooking time if choose the ‘quick soak’ method (these methods can be found in a pinch on the back of dried bean bags)
- Be sure to taste and adjust seasonings right before serving.
- Using ham hock, shank, or other bones add flavor. If using them, pull meat off bones and add to dish. Discard bones or freeze to save.
- Can make this dish on ‘high,’ as well, if cut cooking time about in half–5-6 hours maximum, I’d guess). I have not tried this method, though, so I’d keep an eye on them the firs time going at it this way.