Faded Bluebird

Ham It Up!

December 26, 2015 0 Comments

I think that I have mentioned before that I’m a SOUTHERNER.  Yes, it requires all caps! I’m very proud of the traditions that I was raised with, and one of them is waste nothing while cooking.  And this fits very nicely into my goal of being more budget aware in 2016 and I did threaten to take you along on my journey!

Picture courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens cause my family couldn’t wait for me to take a picture. 

Traditionally we have a Christmas Ham every year.  First cause it’s what we do in my family, secondly it is usually part of our Christmas Bonus, LOL! You can’t sneer at FREE! This year’s ham was 12+ lbs, plenty for the 8 people we were feeding, so 2/3 of it was cut into slices and the rest I cut into small diced pieces.  We ate what we wanted for Lunch and Dinner that evening and I froze the rest for breakfast or sandwiches later.  The diced part of the ham was also frozen in small packages to be used in Mash Potato Soup, salads and breakfast skillet dishes. But what about the hock???? I’m sure this question is just killing you in anticipation.
TADAAAAA!  I make Southern Pinto Beans of course! You can freeze the hock or make the beans the following day.  This is one of my sneaky No Meat Meals…….yeah, ok it has meat, but what do you want from me, I’M SOUTHERN! Beans, Cornbread and Fried Potatoes are my all time favorite meal, it is also the first things I learned to cook.  Nothing beats it on a cold winter night, and I’m going to share my uber secret haven’t even shared it with my BFF recipe!
This recipe is also very budget friendly, it gets my 5 Glittery Pennies Rating!
Southern Pinto Beans
1 lb dry pinto beans
Ham Hock
small to medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. Worcestershire
2 c. homemade (or not) chicken stock
2 bay leaves (You will thank me later!)
salt & pepper to taste
Soak the beans over night, removing the yucky ones.  Drain the water in the morning. Put the beans and the stock in a large stock pot adding enough water to cover the beans. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to med-low and continue to cook stirring often. Add water as needed to keep the bean moist.  When you can easily mash the beans onto a wooden spatula with a fork, they’re ready!  Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
Now this recipe makes a lot of beans, we eat what my family of 3 can handle over 2 days and I freeze the rest in quart and pint jars for later use!  These make awesome Mexican wraps with a little of my taco seasoning sprinkled on top with shredded lettuce, cheese and a little diced tomato.  Or you can use them to make your own refried beans, rinse them and add them to a salad, or………
And that’s it.  From Christmas Ham to next week’s Mexican Wrap. Don’t you just love a happy ending!
Happy Cooking
Oh, PS!  About the bay leaves.  Bay leaves not only give your beans a wonderful taste, they help to reduce…..uhum unexpected gastric blow ups per say.  Bay leaves are awesome for your digestion and they give a wonderful flavor if you add a couple to the water when you boil pasta! You remove the bay leaves, not because they are toxic, but because they are a hard leaf that isn’t pleasant if you accidentally get a spoonful containing one with your beans. Just a little tip from Faded Bluebird.


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