We had a rather large ham to eat for Christmas Dinner #1 with the friends, and the first thing I thought when looking at that leftover ham in the refrigerator was that the magic lies in the ham bone itself rather than the meat. I am one of the few people I know that actually has a special tool just for extracting marrow from bones.
I know, it sounds gross, but you've got to try some marrow from an osso bucco once without knowing it and you'll surely remark how delicious it is. In this case, the marrow from the ham bone gives its flavor to these beans. Even Keith, who remarked, "I don't really like beans," ate bowl after bowl.
We got a jar of chow chow from our friend Adam for the holidays this year. Chow chow is a traditional southern relish often made with green tomatoes and other green vegetables, and tastes sweet and sour. Nick remembered eating beans with chow chow as a kid, so that served as the inspiration for this dish.
I basically followed the recipe on the package of beans I bought, but spruced it up a little bit.
1 ham bone from leftover baked ham with 1 pound of reserved diced ham
2 lbs. mixed beans (we used one package of Hurst's Hambeans)
1 large onion, small dice
4 carrots, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups ckicken stock
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 bunch kale, chopped
Place beans in a large pot, cover with 2 quarts water. Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.
After draining, add reserved ham, ham bone and broth, along with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 2 and a half hours. Add onions, carrot, chili pepper, kale and garlic and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. If the beans are too thick, add water to thin, depending on the texture you want. Remove ham bone and serve with rice or on its own as a stew, topped with a tablespoon of chow chow if you have it.
This recipe makes a huge amount! However, it freezes well and will last a week in the refrigerator.