Did you cook a ham for Christmas and have that ham bone in the freezer? This is a perfect dish to make with it. A simple bag of beans and a ham bone makes a wonderful winter meal... add some cornbread and you have a southern comfort dish of yumminess!
For the Ham Stock:
1 large ham bone
Water to cover
2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
1 large onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, halved
1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the Beans:
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 pound package of dried pinto beans
2 cups leftover ham, chopped
1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Place ham bone in a large stockpot, along with the remaining stock ingredients, cover with water plus another 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Strain, reserving the bone and stock; discard vegetables. (Sometimes I blend the vegetables with the stock until smooth. Strain it and set aside. It's your call. It's good either way.) Once cooled, pick off any meat from the bone, reserving the meat and discarding the bone.
Heat the butter in the bottom of the pot, add the chopped onion and cook over medium until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Rinse and sort the beans. Add beans and meat to the pot. Cover with ham stock. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 hour. Reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for about 2 hours or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with a big chunk of cornbread!