I’m trying to cook more, and to use what I have. One of the things I have is several freezer bags of ham, left over from a bout of Christmas cooking. Another thing I have is a variety of dried beans, from a bout of frugal shopping without a plan. So yesterday I went through the pantry, pulled out the Crock Pot, and made a batch of ham and beans.
Friday night, I took the ham out of the freezer and sorted, rinsed, and soaked the beans overnight (after a few hours of soaking, I drained the water and continued soaking them in fresh water).
Saturday morning I moved the beans out of their bowl into the Crock Pot, added the cooked ham, poured approximately a cup of pureed tomatoes in, and added dried minced onion (Mr. Sandwich hates the texture of onion, so I try to minimize its effect as much as possible). I set the heat on high for about an hour and then turned it down to low.
After several hours, the sauce was okay, but pretty bland. Considering how few ingredients were in there, I’m surprised that this surprised me. So I added dried sage, paprika, some chipotle powder, some chili con carne, ground black pepper, and a little bit of sea salt–plus a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. Then I continued to let it cook for a few more hours.
The end result was better than I’d dared hope–rich, flavorful, a little smoky, and a tiny bit sweet. Although the original recipe claimed to be a soup, this is definitely not that. I ate it over rice, and Mr. Sandwich ate it plain. Both of us plan to eat more.
Not bad for an experiment!