On a cold, blustery day there is nothing better than this super creamy stew. It is hearty and delicious while at the same time being delicately mild and slightly tangy…. oooh I love this combination of flavors, tastes and textures!
Complimenting the traditional ham and bean stew, this recipe includes garlic for depth and complexity of flavor while also adding the benefit of counteracting the gassiness that beans normally cause. Finally, the vinegar contributes a subtle tang while drawing out the full flavor of the ham and white beans.
This quick preparation slow cooker method eliminates the need to soak the beans or to wait all day for the meal to be done.
- 1 pound dried great northern white or cannellini beans
- 7 cups of water
- 1 meaty smoked ham bone, 2 ham hocks or 2 ham shanks
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup of fully cooked diced or shredded smoked ham
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of salt, to taste
- 2-4 tablespoons of white vinegar
- Pour the beans into a 9x12 pan or on a cookie sheet to sort, removing any shriveled beans or stones.
- Place ham bone, hocks or shanks into the bottom of a slow cooker with whole garlic cloves and turn to high. Place the sorted dry beans evenly over the top and then pour over 6 cups of boiling water.
- Place the lid on and wait for the stew to come to a boil. After 90 minutes of boiling, check the beans. They should be tender and able to be easily crushed between your thumb and forefinger. If they are still firm in the center, replace the lid and wait another 30 to 60 minutes.
- Turn the slow cooker to warm (or unplug) and remove the bone or hocks, setting them aside to cool.
- If the stew is watery, use a potato masher and lightly mash some of the beans and stir to thicken the broth.
- Remove the meat from the bones while discarding the skin and bones. Stir in the meat from the bones and the additional leftover ham.
- Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Because of the smoked ham, not much salt is usually needed.
- When served, add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to each bowl as desired. Stir and enjoy!!
- Stovetop Alternative: If you do not want to use a slow cooker, you may alter the recipe by boiling the ham bone for 30 minutes, then adding the beans and garlic and allow to simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally and then follow the rest of the directions above.
- Ham Bone Alternative: If you don’t have leftover holiday ham and a leftover ham bone, you can purchase smoked ham hocks or ham shanks in the store. Generally they come two in a package and are sufficient for flavoring the broth. Additional fully cooked ham steak can be purchased as well.