Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ham and Bean Soup

We raise pigs for meat.  Occasionally for the local coyote population, but mostly for ourselves and a few friends.  I never knew how good pork could be until we started this little endeavor.  I've learned all sorts of things about different cuts and how to cook these delights.

For example, ham steaks are THE BOMB when grilled, as long as you don't overcook them.

Sausage gravy?  Yum.  And easy.  (Could have done a post on G day for that one, but my dad would have complained about too many recipes in one week.  Sorry.  Maybe another day.  Blame my dad.)

Bacon is best cooked in the oven.  Seriously.  Crisp bacon with no danger of splashing yourself with grease.

But the best discovery I have made is the ham hock.  I know it sounds awful, but that little bit of the pig leg makes some mean soup.  If you can get it from your butcher, do so now.

I know, they look scary.  Trust me.


If you can't get good ol' country ham hocks, this recipe works with any bone-in ham.  I first fell in love with this soup when my dad made it with store-bought ham after Easter.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. or so of vegetable oil
small onion - diced
ham hocks (or other bone-in-ham) I usually use about four or five hocks.  (I cannot bring myself to use the actual hoof.  I have my limits.)
large jar of Great Northern beans

The how-to:

In a stock pot/Dutch oven type pot, heat your oil a bit. 

Add the onion.

Try not to burn the onion while you take photos of the ham hocks.  Just sayin'. 

Once the onion has softened (takes just a minute or so), add the beans.  I then use tap water to rinse the jar and get all the beans out.  Add that water to the pot for a little extra liquid.

Place the ham (still on the bone) in the pot with the beans.

Let simmer for 30 minutes or so.

Trust me.

After 30 minutes, while the soup continues to simmer, take each hock out one at a time and remove the meat from the bone.  Chop up the meat and put it back in the pot.  Discard the bones.

Yes, I do have cutting boards.  I just rarely use them.

And you're done.

I like to serve it with some warm cornbread.

Dishes that match are optional.  Clearly.

This recipe will feed 2 adults, 2 growing boys who love it, 2 kids who kinda like it, and 2 little boys who refuse to try it.  There will be no leftovers.

 Have a lovely day!

23 comments:

  1. Is a northern bean kinda like a butterbean? Also, what recipe do you use for your cornbread - I keep seeing different recipes around the internet and having never tried it, I don't know what's good. I don't think cornbread's really a 'thing' over here.

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    1. They are kind of similar. Cannellini or navy beans would be a better substitute. As for the cornbread, this one is similar to mine.
      http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grandmothers-buttermilk-cornbread/detail.aspx

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  2. This looks delicious! Don't feel bad, I rarely use my cutting boards myself - I think it is just quicker and easier to grab a plate :)

    We raised a pig for meat when I was a kid and we had a hard time with it in the end. We became attached as she was so friendly and used to even let me ride her like a horse! My parents named her Pork Chop as if to try to make it a little easier (a reminder that she was going to be food) but when the day came, it was still the hardest thing for us to do. She was such a good pig! My dad rode on the truck with her to go, it was hard. She was the only pig we raised.

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    1. Easier to clean, for sure. Just stick it in the dishwasher where it fits nicely with the others.

      We named our first pigs Pork Chop, Applesauce, and Leftovers so the kids would know from the start, too. I think it's easier for us because we never get just one. Pigs are social animals, and yours probably became more attached to you. We always have three or four, so they aren't very attached to us. (or us to them) By the time they get to be 300 pounds, the kids are ready for them to go.

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  3. When Ry Guy was born his legs were so fat we nicknamed them "hamhocks". Sadly, they haven't changed much.

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    1. Ha! We said the same about Star when he was a baby. He has changed, though. He is now chicken legs.
      Why exactly do we describe our children like animals?

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  4. I love making split pea soup with the ham bone, but this sounds delish. I'll have to keep my eye out for ham hocks at the grocery store. I'll try not to puke when putting them in my cart. ;)

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    1. I've never had split pea soup. Are split peas anything like regular peas. Regular green peas make me gag.

      Just don't look at them. They do look awful. Let me know if you try it!

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  5. Love your counting of serving size--spoken like a true mom! I'm an adult; the soup looks delicious.

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    1. Ha! I wondered if anyone caught that. It really is yummy.

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  6. Mmmmmm. Love me some ham and beans! Except I prefer pintos.

    Dishes that match show no imagination.

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    1. I've never eaten a pinto bean, so I have no opinion on them.

      Funny you mentioned imagination...

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  7. Yeah the pictures... not such a good thing. I can't get past the looks to try and make that. Also not a ham fan so I have no great desire to go there. My family however has not met a piece of ham they do not like. maybe if i knew the source for the meat it might be better.

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    1. I know, the look of those things isn't great. Sorry. You say you aren't a ham fan. Have you ever had country ham? It's very different than normal store-bought ham. Ya'll just need to come up here and try it.

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  8. Lol I love the break down of how much it serves! It does kind of look scary to me, but I would try it. Wouldn't attempting cooking it myself, though.

    I've never known anyone to cook bacon in the stove. This intrigues me, and I find myself wanting to try it. I mean, it's bacon, right? I definitely need to learn how to cook more.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

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    1. I am pretty sure I meant in the oven :)

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    2. The breakdown was my favorite part when I wrote this. :)

      Don't let the looks scare you. It really is easy to cook.

      And yes, try the bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven. I usually have the oven at 350 when I cook it. It's hard to mess up bacon.

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  9. This looks so good! I'm happy to have discovered your blog through the A to Z Challenge! I look forward to reading more.

    -Cristyl @ www.mychillthoughts.com

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you discovered it, too. :)

      I'm heading over to see how you're handling the alphabet.

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  10. Looks great! One of my favorites.

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!