Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Northern White Beans and Ham with Polenta

If your family is anything like mine I can distinctly remember the smell of bean soup cooking approximately 2 weeks after we had ham for dinner.  This usually occurred sometime after Easter.   Whomever ate over for Easter always "offered" to take that ham bone off my Dad's hand---no no sir, we know your tricks. You want the ham bone so you can make our soup!  Don't you dare.  That ham bone holds the gift that is bean soup,  a deep secret locked inside of it---a family recipe...or actually a mumble jumble of stuff that my dad labeled Bean Soup.  My mom DD hates bean soup--she's cray.

This is my take on bean soup,  because I didn't have a ham bone to cook, because I didn't have ham,  because I would never need an entire ham, because I'm single (no cats yet, which I am proud to report).  Woe is me.

This is easy because it all occurs in the crockpot--HOLLA.  I made this on Sunday and put in the fridge for the week.  I am firm believer some foods get better with time.  I mean a day later, not 6 months later.  Then you'd be cray.

Northern White Beans and Ham with Polenta
Prep: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook: 8-9 hours
Serves: 4 (1 1/2 cup servings)

Ingredients for Beans:
1 lb bag of dried Northern White Beans
1 1lb package of ham hocks, or a small ham with a bone
1 small white onion, diced
2 tbsp of onion powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
2 tbsp of grated Parmesan Cheese
6 cups of water 

1. Rinse and sort through the beans.  Make sure you do not have any stones or dirt in the bag :).
2. Place beans on the bottom of the crockpot.
3. Place the diced onions on top of the beans.
4. Place the hamhocks of the small ham on top of the beans and onions.
5. Sprinkle with all of the seasonings, except the Parmesan cheese.
6.  Pour in 6 cups of water.
7. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, or until the meat falls of the bone.
8.  Remove and discard bones and fat.  Stir meat back into the bean mixture.
9.  Mix in 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese.

Serve with a crusty bread, or like I did Italian Seasoned Polenta :)  

Ingredients for Polenta:
1lb bag of Polenta
1/2 stick butter
1 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp of pepper
1 tbsp of garlic powder

Directions for Polenta:
1. Make the polenta according to the package directions.
2. Right before the polenta is as thick as you want it melt in butter and add in spices.
3. Once the polenta is cooked through,  pour it into a parchment paper lined sheet tray.
4. Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. Slice the polenta as needed----

Pan fried Polenta
1. Heat up one tbsp of olive oil
2.  Place in 1 4 ounce polenta cake and fry on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. Dip in your ham and beans :)