If there is one meal that I remember as a child on the farm it was ham and beans! It was a meal my mother would cook-up on cold wintry days that would keep us fed for days. It seemed as though this meal took all day for my mother to make, plus she would whip up a batch of her famous Jan Baldwin cornbread. (I’m not kidding about the “famous” part in her cornbread either, just ask ANYONE that has ever enjoyed it.)
During Christmas our family was “flooded-in” at the farm, as we saw massive amounts of rainfall throughout Southern Missouri. So, my niece Sydnee and I helped out in feeding our large crowd with a huge pot of ham and beans and four batches of cornbread. With the help of mom, I wrote down instructions and measurements for both recipes. Here are our instructions for making a traditional ham and bean dinner with cornbread for your family.
Traditional Ham and Beans
3 cups of washed beans, pinto or Great Northern
*Soak the beans overnight in water, skim off the “spoiled parts” that float to the top. If you don’t soak the beans overnight, you will have additional cooking time.
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery sticks and tops, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 T. parsley
1 tsp. Cavenders seasonings
1 T. sugar
Chicken bouillon cubes
Diced cooked ham
In a large stockpot, add a couple tablespoons of bacon grease and sauté the onion, celery and garlic for 5 minutes. Add all the seasonings, except for the salt and bouillon cubes, and stir. The salt isn’t added until the beans are soft. Continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the beans and four cups of water and two chicken bouillon cubes and place lid on pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
After an hour of cooking add the diced ham. Continue cooking the beans, stirring occasionally and adding water when needed.
If you soaked the beans overnight the beans are done in three hours, if you did not soak the beans overnight then the beans will take 5 hours.
Add one washed and skinned potato at the beginning of cooking the beans to thicken your broth. Add enough water to have a good stock in your beans to soak up that great cornbread!
Jan’s Famous Cornbread
In cast iron skillet- heat 1/2 cup oil
In a small bowl add:
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder
1 T sugar
Mix well. Then add:
1/2 cup milk
Mix well, then add half of the hot oil from the skillet to the mixture and stir well. Keep a little oil in skillet and add the mixture to the skillet. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.