We recently shared our dinner table with a lovely couple. We feasted on ham, baked potatoes, roasted carrots, a garden salad, and biscuits.
As time permits, I like to make stock, soup, etcetera from bones. When I thought about the potential of that old ham bone, I immediately decided on beans. How would I meld ham and beans together into a delicious meal? I pondered the merits of a ham and bean soup, but I’d just made that lentil soup. Baked bliss…ummm…I mean, beans. My dad used to buy a ham hock just for this purpose. He made some goooood beans. And mac and cheese. And chili. Delicious memories.
My df girl doesn’t remember Grampy’s beans, but she was very happy, nonetheless. (I shared about her love of comfort food here.) Homemade baked beans is one of her more recent faves…probably because I really hadn’t made them but once or twice when she was younger. Our family has really not taken the lowly bean very seriously. (Is it just me, or is “This Bean is No Ordinary Bean” from Veggie Tales, Lord of the Beans, going through your head right now? Listen to it…then you can sing along with me.) Other than chili, beans just didn’t make it into my meal plan. Because my df girl has had some tummy troubles, we tried out the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for awhile to help identify trigger foods. We began eating beans regularly at that point. The SCD version of baked beans is okay, but let’s face it, not comparable to the real deal.
As far as I can remember, I have never made them in the slow cooker. I do like them thick and dark and rich, like Dad made, which is easy to achieve in a slow oven. I decided I would try them in the crockpot, as I’ve been trying to use this appliance more often, to build my recipe repertoire for hurried days. I found this recipe on Pinterest, complete with hambone. I used it as a springboard, with some elements from this recipe, as well. I don’t prefer to use prepared ketchup or bbq sauce when I cook, so I changed it up a little.
I prepared my beans with the quick-soak method: cover beans with cold water, bring to a boil, boil for two minutes, let sit (covered) for one hour. I used an entire bag of dry navy beans, which measured about two pounds, just under a kilogram. I only used half for my baked beans, but I like to have some on hand, as I mentioned above and here. The other half of the beans were simmered with a little garlic till tender, then cooled and put in the fridge for later use. My df girl likes them plain as a base for her lunch, but I think I’ll make some garlicky bean dip (like hummus) as well.
Crockpot Baked Beans
- put a big ol’ ham bone into the crockpot
- add pre-soaked beans (1 pound dry)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of molasses
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (I like a lot)
- sprinkle a spoonful (regular teaspoon) of each: garlic powder and dry mustard
- several splashes of Worcestershire sauce (sorry I don’t really measure)
- pour 2 1/2 cups of water over all.
- stir to combine
- cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low, stirring occasionally
- turn the lid to let the steam escape for the last half hour
- discard ham bone, but first remove meat and add it back to the beans
The texture was wonderful. The sauce was thick and rich, with lovely chunks of melt in your mouth ham. I’ll definitely be making this again!