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Ham and Beans
2 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 lb dried great northern beans
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups chicken broth + 3 cups water
About a pound and a half of ham, chopped (plus the ham bone if you have it!)
Soak your beans. You can either do a traditional overnight soak in cold water or a quick soak like I do. For the quick soak, put the beans in a pot, add enough water to cover by three or four inches, and bring to a boil. After it boils rigorously for a couple of minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit for about an hour while you prepare the other ingredients. Then rinse and drain the beans.
Sauté the onions and celery in the oil for a couple of minutes and then add the garlic and continue sautéing for about half a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring it to a rapid boil, then reduce heat, cover loosely, and cook it at a low simmer. You’ll need to simmer it for about three hours or until the beans are good and tender and the whole thing has a soup-like consistency. You might need to add some more water along the way (I did) to keep it at your preferred consistency.
About midway through, sample it and add salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve in a bowl. Optional additions to add when serving are Worcestershire sauce and chopped green onions.
Note: For the Cajun seasoning, this time I used a blend called Uncle Larry’s that reader Bryan M. sent to me, and it was fantastic.
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