As a kid, I had a very specific list of foods I didn’t like. Some of them have stuck around in that “yuck” category into adulthood (Chinese food! YUCK!), but the vast majority of foods on my childhood dislike list have happily found themselves on my weekly grocery list. In fact, some of them I even consider some of my favorite foods (onions, mustard).
One food that I always moaned, groaned and pitched a fit when I saw it simmering away on the stove was ham and beans. As a kid, something about the mushy beans and salty ham made me want to go running for the hills. A few times a year, Mama would try out ham and beans on me again, and every time, without fail, I’d try a bite and my face would contort into some sourpuss look. No dice.
She stopped even trying sometime in middle school. And honestly, I haven’t thought about ham and beans since. That is, until this past week.
Someone requested I come up with some cheap dinner recipes and for some reason, the subconscious part of my brain immediately said, “ham and beans”. Doesn’t that just sound like a cheap meal? And then, immediately after, my brain said, “But you don’t like ham and beans.” Which then totally confused my brain. Because I like ham. And I like beans. So how can I not like ham ‘n’ beans? My brain was smoking by this point.
So while visting my parents, I took mental notes on Mama’s recipe and whipped up my own slow-cooker batch.
And guess what? I loved it. Move another food off the childhood hate list.
Slow Cooker Ham ‘n’ Beans
This recipe is the epitome of cool weather comfort food and is the perfect dish to make the day after a big family ham dinner. Just remember to save the ham bone and reserve a bit of the meat. If you don’t have a ham around, most grocery stores sell smoked ham hocks in the meat section. Many times they come in packs of two or more. The ones you don’t use will freeze well in a zip-top bag.
- 1 pound navy or great northern beans, sorted, soaked overnight (or according to directions on bag)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large smoked ham hock or ham bone
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup chopped ham
- Sliced green onions for topping (optional)
- In the basin of a slow cooker, combine the beans, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay and ham hock or bone.
- Fill with water until just barely covering the beans.
- Cook on high for 6-7 hours, or low for 8-9 hours until beans are soft and beginning to fall apart.
- 30 minutes before end of cooking time, remove the ham hock or bone, strip off any meat, chop and return to the slow cooker. Discard the bone. Stir in Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and remaining chopped ham.
- Serve sprinkled with green onions.
What food did you hate as a kid and now enjoy?