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Waste Not: Ham Bone and Beans

“Waste Not, Want Not” That is what ham bone and beans is all about.

I love recipes that have a “make it do” quality… when the results are delicious.  Ham Bone and Beans is one of those recipes.  I love it.  It’s not pretty, but it’s delicious and it’s good old comfort food.

And it uses something that might have been otherwise thrown away.

We had a spiral ham for the Holidays and what was left was a meaty ham bone.

The night before, start with a 1 pound bag of dry baby Lima beans.  Sort through them and remove anything that doesn’t look like a pretty Lima bean.  Then put them in a pot of water to soak overnight.

This is a dish that cooks all day, so in the morning rinse the beans well… I just love getting dinner done in the morning.

Chop up a large onion.

In a large pot, saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add your ham bone and beans.  Notice their is still some ham on the bone.  Most of that meat is a bit fatty and wasn’t suitable to for eating on a sandwich (or otherwise).  Don’t worry about that, once it cooks all day, the fat is easy to separate from the meat.  It gets so tender it is falling apart, and it is delicious with the beans.

Cover the beans with about 1 inch of water.  Season with about 2 teaspoons of salt.

And pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer (over low heat.)   Simmer all day, until the water cooks down into the beans and the beans become a bit creamy.

Remove ham bone and ham.  The meat will be falling off the bone.  Trim all the fat and chop into small pieces.  Return the ham to the pot.  Taste for seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. This dish does take a lot of both salt and pepper to make it good.

Serve over rice with your favorite Louisiana Hot Sauce- mine’s Cajun Sunshine which has nice flavor and is mild.  My husband likes Tabasco.

It’s a simple dish.  It’s easy to make.  And we love it.  So don’t throw that ham bone out!  Make it Do instead.

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8 Responses to “Waste Not: Ham Bone and Beans”

  • Sally:

    Thank you for another great recipe. I just figured out my son loves ham (he’s not a big meat eater in general). I’ve been hesitant to get a bone-in ham but now I will since I can get another meal out of it.
    BTW-I love your dishes. Who makes them & what pattern are they?

    • It is from Spode and called Delamere Brown. I wanted that pattern for years and when it turned up at Costco at an amazing price I splurged and bought a full set of 12 plus serving dishes. The pattern dates back to about 1831. I guess some things never go out of style.

  • I love the ham bone! I still have soup canned from last Easter that I made with the ham bone!

  • I love recipes like this – totally something our grandmothers would have done, when waste not was a way of life. Whenever I tell people I boil the bones of a chicken or turkey with herbs and vegetables to make stock, they are usually surprised. Anyway, great post!

  • Rose:

    I love that; my mom always makes it after Christmas but I’ve never seen it with rice. What a good idea!

  • I just made this with the leftover ham bone we had and it didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped. Yours looks much better than mine! I used navy beans and cooked themin the crockpot but it all came out kinda mushy.

    Maybe I’ll try lima beans next time and the outcome will be better!!! Yours looks delicious!

  • Julie:

    We love cooking this at our house! We’ll do it throughout the year with ham hocks, which are very inexpensive. One problem I have sometimes is that the lima beans split open. Any suggestions for that?

    • Julie, sorry for the delay. That happens to me too, and I don’t really mind it, it makes them kind of creamy. But to keep it from happening, try reducing your heat. If I’m in a hurry and cook the beans at a higher simmer, they always split. At a low simmer all day, they never split. I hope that helps. cheers, Calli

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