Okay, this is a crazy thing to admit, but until recently, I’ve never tried to make ham and beans. Like, never! I tried making from-scratch baked beans with dried beans once and it was such a disaster that I never tried any other kind of dried bean ever again.
As usual, though, Alton Brown has inspired me. After recently watching his show about dried beans, I thought maybe it was worth a shot. So I gathered all the info that I could find and gave it a try…it was the best ham and beans I’ve ever eaten, and since I normally don’t like beans, that’s pretty good. I mean they were good enough that I would make them again because I wanted them not because I’m trying to save money or because the family wants them. I used a recipe off of allrecipes.com, but I left out the onion in favor of onion powder (we don’t care for onion pieces in our food). Then I thought, “Hey, why not try cornbread from scratch as well!”. It, too, turned out awesome. I just combined the best of a few different recipes and made some incredible cornbread.
Now, it is a rarity in my house that we run out of something simple like butter, but for some reason on this day, we were out. K and I love our butter, so this was a tragedy, but the meal was already made and hot and we ate anyway. K’s comment: “This cornbread is good enough that I actually don’t mind eating it without butter. In fact, without butter I’d give it a 9.5 (out of 10) and with butter, I bet it’s an 11!”
This was way better than Jiffy, folks, and I love Jiffy Cornbread!
The ham and beans recipe is:
1 pound dry great Northern beans
1/2 pound cooked ham, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Rinse beans in a large pot; discard shriveled beans and any small stones. Add 8 cups of cold water. Let stand overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans.
Return beans to pot and add ham, onion, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne and parsley and water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender. Add more water if necessary during cooking time.
What I actually did was put the beans in the slow cooker on low for like 12 hours. Perfection!
The cornbread recipe is as follows:
Jessica’s Sweet Cornbread
1 c. flour
1 c. yellow cornmeal
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 c. plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
In a small bowl, soak 1 c. cornmeal in 1 c. milk for 15 minutes without stirring. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 to 12 inch round pan (I use cast iron for even heating). In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder with whisk. Stir in eggs, cornmeal and milk mixture, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Batter will be slightly lumpy, that’s okay. Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cornbread comes out clean.