Ham and Beans
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Ham and Beans is a yummy recipe to make for your family! A combination of Great Northern and Pinto Beans, thick and juicy with plenty of ham and plenty of flavor.
I always think about this recipe mid-summer when our little town holds it’s Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion.
(Post modified on 10/30/22.)
Their Bean Pot Recipe: 1400 pounds Great Northern Beans; 125 pounds bacon; 50 pounds onion; Water as needed; Salt and Pepper to taste.
At around 11 AM, the wood kindling beneath the kettle pots are ignited, and the beans begin to cook. Workers add more wood as needed.
Then at around 5 PM, folks begin lining up with their pots and containers from home. Mind you, people from all over the county attend this event. Everyone wants their pot of free beans!
Huge, long lines of people wait on the courthouse lawn until the beans are served at 6. But you don’t want to be late, or you might not get any!
Erie Kansas – Bean Town USA
Our families have been participating in this annual bean feed ever since I can remember. As a girl, I recall going with my grandma and grandpa one year. We laid a blanket on the courthouse lawn and ate our dinner right there. Under the hot July sun, because there wasn’t enough shade for everyone. Churches and organizations sell plenty of cornbread and desserts, so there is always plenty of food to go with the beans.
My folks always transported a large container in the back of their car and brought it home so we could eat our bean dinner inside where it was cool. This became my job when I turned old enough to drive. My greatest fear was that the beans would slosh onto the floor my car.
Later in the evening, our town hosts a live music event, usually bringing in a somewhat well-known country music singer or band. Then after that there is a huge fireworks display. This is also the best night to catch up with friends and family for visiting. Great memories. All of them.
If you ever have a chance to attend our “famous” Old Soldiers and Sailors Bean Night Reunion, I encourage you to do so. I am always amazed when I travel and meet someone who has been there. They usually cannot remember the name of the event, but they always remember the pots of beans.
Ingredients for my Ham and Beans Recipe
(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)
- dried great northern beans, presoaked and ready
- dried pinto beans, presoaked and ready
- cubed cured ham
- sweet onion
- onion powder
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- medium russet potato
Instructions for Making These Beans
Presoak the Beans
In a large pot, cover the soaked beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 60-90 minutes until beans have soaked up most of the water. Rinse and drain.
You may also presoak the dried beans the night before by placing them in a large bowl covered with cold water. Allow them to soak overnight so that they are nice and plump ad ready to cook the next day. Discard any shells that have come off the beans.
Cook the Beans
Once the beans have presoaked, gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
Using a sharp knife and cutting board, chop the ham into bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion.
Add more water to the pot of beans, enough to cover about 2 inches above the beans. Stir in the chopped ham, diced onion, onion powder, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
At this point, add one russet potato that has been poked with a knife or fork a few times.
This may be an old-wives tale, but supposedly the potato helps remove the “gas effect” from the beans. You be the judge. I always do it. Perhaps for good luck.
Bring water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot of beans with a lid. Simmer until beans are tender about 2-3 hours. Add water as necessary so that the beans are always covered by liquid.
Remove the potato before serving. Taste the beans and add more salt or black pepper as desired.
This recipe will serve 6-8 people.
Ham and Beans
Presoak the Beans
- In large pot, cover beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 60-90 minutes until beans have soaked up most of the water. Rinse and drain. Discard any shells that have come off the beans.
Cook the Beans
- At this point, add one russet potato that has been poked with a knife or fork a few times. This step is optional, but it may help prevent the "gas effect" from the beans.
- Bring water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot of beans with a lid. Simmer until beans are tender about 2-3 hours. Add water as necessary so that the beans are always covered by liquid.
- Remove the potato before serving. Taste the beans and add more salt or black pepper as desired. Serve with your favorite cornbread recipe. Serves 6-8.