I know that particularly in the southern US it is tradition to begin the New Year with a bowl of black-eyed peas, to celebrate frugality, and the perseverance during the Civil War days. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some beans, peas, and generally vegetables of all sorts with few exceptions (eggplant, I’m looking at you). But I have never been fond of black-eyed peas.
There. I said it.
HOWEVER-I love the idea of bringing in the New Year with a frugal bowl of beans, which I generally make on New Year’s day. For me, it serves as a replacement for the black-eyed peas tradition, plus, if you’ve indulged a little too much the eve before, it can help get some healthy carbs and protein in your system to get you back on track.
Here is my throw together recipe:
Anna’s Ham & Beans
(recipe serves 6-8 with some leftovers)
2 lbs. dried beans (pinto and/or great northern are my favorites for this)
1-2 yellow onions, diced
4-6 carrots, peeled and diced
½ bunch of celery, washed, sliced and diced
Tablespoon of oil
Water for soaking
More water for cooking
1 lb. diced ham
4-6 ham hocks
1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans condensed cream of chicken or celery soup
Sort out the broken or bad beans, rinse well in colander, then put into large bowl and cover with at least twice as much water as the beans. Allow to soak overnight.
Drain off the soaking water, and place beans into large roaster. Add twice as much water as beans. Set aside and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat up a skillet to medium high, add oil. Brown the vegetables until wilted and lightly caramelized. Transfer veggies to the roaster with the beans. Add the ham to the skillet and brown it lightly, then add to roaster. Add the ham hocks to the roaster, pepper generously and cover before placing into preheated oven. Allow to roast in oven, covered, for 4 hours.
Remove roaster from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove ham hocks and take out all meat you can find, adding meat to the bean mixture. Discard the bones and fat from the ham hocks. Stir bean gently, and test for doneness. They should be all dente (firm to the tooth) by this point. Add crumbled bacon and return to increased temperature oven, uncovered, for another 1-2 hours.
Remove roaster from over, add the condensed soup and stir well. Adjust seasonings with more pepper and salt, if needed. Return to oven for another 30 minutes to an hour to finish.
Serve beans with rice, if desired, and your favorite bread or roll.