Homestyle Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

An Easter ham or holiday dinner usually leaves us with a leftover ham hock. I generally leave a bit of ham on the bone and freeze it to use a bit later in a pot of ham and beans. Growing up, we always used white, Great Northern or Navy beans. Today, I discovered a pound of dried pinto beans in the pantry, so I decided to adapt my usual ham and bean recipe into this homestyle pinto beans and ham recipe.
homestyle pinto beans and ham in a bowl with spoon

Ingredients for this Homestyle Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe
1 lb. Dry Pinto Beans, rinsed, sorted and pre-soaked
3 Tbsp. Butter 
1 c. Yellow Onion, Diced
1 Clove Minced Garlic
2 Bay Leaves
8 cups of Vegetable Broth or Vegetable Stock
or a combination of water and broth to give 8 cups  
1 Large, Meaty Ham Hock
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions for Homestyle Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe
Rinse, Sort & Soak the Pinto Beans.  Rinse and sort the pinto beans--discarding any discolored beans or debris that made its way into the bag during processing.  It is not uncommon to find a small rock or such in a bag of dried beans!  Follow the instructions on the bean package for either the overnight soak or the quick soak method.  I prefer the overnight soak--but, you can certainly do the quick soak if time didn't allow for the longer, overnight option.  You will just need to plan for a longer cooking time.

Cook the Pinto Beans & Ham.  Melt the Butter in a large soup pot.  Add the onions and saute over medium heat until translucent.  Add  the garlic and saute for a minute more.  Toss the pre-soaked beans into the pot and stir to coat with the onion mixture.  Add the ham hock, broth and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, add a slightly vented lid and simmer for at least 4 hours or until beans have the texture that you like.  I generally simmer dried beans for 6-7 hours, stirring occasionally and adding a little more broth or water to keep the liquid level of the beans to a soup-like consistency.

pinnable image for a homestyle pinto beans and ham recipe
Thicken and Season the Beans.  Pull out about a cup of the cooked beans, smash them and return them to the soup pot.  Remove the ham hock--pulling off any remaining bits of meat that didn't fall of naturally during cooking and put the meat into the beans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve.  Serve in soup bowls with cornbread and a green salad.  

homestyle pinto beans and ham in a bowl by a plate of cornbread
Cook's Notes:
If your ham hock is very fatty and the broth seems overly oily, remove the ham hock a little early during the cooking time--maybe after 3 hours--and add the leaner meat of the hock back into the beans.

These beans (like most casseroles, soups and stews) will taste even better on the 2nd or third day after cooking and reheating.  Sometimes, I make ham and beans on the weekend for have for a Monday or Tuesday evening dinner.  

Easy cornbread?  I often use a quick cornbread mix and add in 1/2 c. frozen corn kernels and a Tbsp. of jarred, diced jalapenos into the batter before baking according to the mix instructions.

I have made great northern beans and ham in the slow cooker--but, I generally prefer the stove top method.  I follow the same ingredient list for slow cooker or stove top.  If you do make these in the slow cooker--I would still remove the hock if a lot of fat is cooking out about 2/3 of the way through the slow cooker time.  Plan on 4-5 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low.  

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