Monday, May 10, 2010

Dutch Oven Savory Beans with Ham

Beans and cornbread are one of my favorite comfort foods. Growing up in a family with seven brothers and sisters I ate plenty of beans and cornbread as a kid. My dad was enlisted in the Air Force and it was an easy and inexpensive meal that my mother could fix to feed all of our hungry mouths. My kids in turn were also raised eating beans and cornbread and it remains a favorite around the Hometown Hiker's homestead.

For this bean dish, I used dried mixed beans, leftover ham chunks together with a leftover leg of lamb bone and cooked it in my dutch oven. I served it with my special buttermilk Mexican cornbread. Man oh Man! You can't go wrong with that!

Here's the deal:

Beans and ham
big bag (2lbs. 8 oz) of dried beans
2 cups leftover ham chunks
leg of lamb bone
2 medium vidalia onions diced
sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne

I soaked the beans overnight.
In the morning, I put ham chunks and leg bone in the bottom of a 12 qt. dutch oven.
I added drained beans, onions, and spices to the pot and covered with boiling water.
At this point I put the lid on the dutch oven and cooked with 6 briquettes below and 12 briquettes on the lid.
I kept the fire going, replenishing briquettes two additional times and cooked for 8 hours.
The beans were perfectly done and delicious!

Hometown's Buttermilk Mexican Cornbread
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 farm eggs, beaten
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
2 jalapenos, diced
1 cup southwest style whole kernel corn
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix all dry ingredients and blend well.
Add eggs and buttermilk and stir until smooth.
Add jalapenos, corn, and 1 cup of cheese. Stir it up!
At this point I melt butter in the bottom of my 11'' cornbread cookin' skillet.
Pour batter on top of melted butter.
Place in hot oven for 20 minutes.
Open oven door and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
Bake for an additional 10 minutes until golden brown and cooked to perfection.


This stuff is to die for! Serve with a cold glass of milk and enjoy!