Living with only two people (plus a cat and a dog), means there are always plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator. Sadly, none of us, except maybe the dog, are really all that into leftovers. So when the holiday's come around and I feel the urge to cook giant turkeys and bake entire hams I have to get creative when the - literally - pounds of meat we have leftover.
Growing up, ham, beans, and cornbread was one of my favorite ways mom disguised the leftover hams from Christmas and Easter. To carry on the tradition (and in honor of her birthday today!) I present to you the most delicious beans with ham on earth.
1 lb of white beans - cannellini or great northern
2 1/2 quarts of water
3-4 lbs of ham hocks or shanks
2 teaspoons (or more) of Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the beans and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add your beans. Allow beans to soak overnight (or for at least 8 hours).
Make your ham broth by putting the shanks or hocks into a large pot and covering them 2 1/2 quarts of water. Add the Italian seasoning and heat on high until the water comes to a simmer. Lower the heat, maintaining a simmer, and partially cover for about an hour.
About 10 minutes before the ham broth is complete, heat olive oil in a small pan and saute the onion and garlic on medium heat. At this point, you may want to go ahead and pull your ham off the bone (discard the bone) and shred your ham in the pot.
Once the onion, garlic, and ham is ready add all the vegetables as well as your soaked beans to your pot. Cook for another 40 minutes to an hour, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste and more water if needed. Serve with chopped fresh parsley, and of course, cornbread.