You can’t get more southern than Southern Ham and White Beans. Traditionally made with a ham bone or ham hock, this budget friendly meal can feed a family just about all week long. Make a big pan of cornbread to go along with this and you will be in hog heaven!
We, like many around here, make a ham for just about every major holiday. It’s just what you do. Thanksgiving? Ham and Turkey. Christmas? Ham and Roast Beef. Easter? Well, Easter is just ham, and that’s fine by me. The thing with ham though, is that once you are done eating ham sandwiches, and ham balls, and ham quiche, the good ol’ holiday ham has one last gift – the ham bone. We have two favorite ways to enjoy the last remnants of the holiday ham; one is my husband’s Ham and Cabbage Soup and the other is Southern Ham and White Beans.
So, to make Southern Ham and White Beans you are going to have to get yourself some dried beans. White beans (I like these from Amazon) in this case. That could be Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans (although not very Southern, they are delish!) or Navy Beans (which is what I have used here). Any dried bean will do. You could even use, pinto beans if you had those lying around.
Cooking dried beans isn’t hard and don’t let anyone tell you that it is. All they need is a little soak before you cook them. You can do that two ways. The first way is to put your beans in a bowl or some kind of container, sort through them (don’t obsess over this, there probably won’t be anything but beans in your bag) and then place them in the container and cover with twice as much water as beans. Let that sit on your counter for up to 8 hours. If you need to soak for longer than that, just stick them in your fridge so they don’t start attracting anything funky.
The second way to cook dried beans is the quick soak method. The quick soak method is for when you forgot to soak your beans the night before. All you do is put them in a large pot, cover them with water and bring them to a boil. At that point you stick a lid on them and turn off the heat and let them sit for a couple of hours.
Both methods work the same. I have had a couple people ask me about cooking beans without soaking them. I have yet to try this method, but it might work if you could cook them long enough. Say in a crock pot for several hours.
Once you have soaked your beans, you really need to drain them. Dried beans are dirty things so don’t cook your beans in their soaking liquid (especially pinto beans. They will straight up taste like dirt.) Now that you have given your dried beans a good soakin’ you are ready to make some Southern Ham and White Beans!
I call for a ham bone in this recipe, but you could substitute a smoked ham hock, smoked turkey leg, a big chunk of bacon, or even leave the ham out all together and do a vegetarian version (I would substitute vegetable stock for the water in this case though and maybe even some dried mushrooms or tomato paste to give these beans some extra flavor).
Southern Ham and White Beans really demands hot sauce and cornbread to go with it, and if you want to be really country, a tall glass of cold buttermilk (don’t freak out on me y’all!). The possibility of having lots of beans left even after you have eaten all of the ham out of them is pretty high, so plan on using up the leftovers in something like a White Bean Salad, a white bean bake, or our favorite Harissa Chicken and White Beans. Of course, you can also freeze any leftovers. Just put your chilled beans in a freezer zip top bag and stash them in the freezer for another day. They should be good in the freezer for about 6 months.
I am a big lover of white beans y’all so make sure to check out these other great recipes to use those leftover beans!
- 2 cups dried beans about 1/2 pound
- Ham Bone
- bay leaf
- fresh thyme sprigs
- onion quartered
- 3 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper
- First, soak the beans for at least 8 hours or overnight in water. Alternatively, place beans in a dutch oven, cover with water and bring to boil. Boil for a few minutes then remove from heat and place lid on top. Let sit for 2 hours.
- Next, place beans in a large dutch oven along with the rest of the ingredients and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Cook for at least 2 hours.
- Serve with cornbread and a green salad.
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