Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beans 2 ways

It has returned to a little cold spring like weather here in Michigan.  When I say returned we had an early spring present of 70 & 80 degree weather in March (I still can't believe it :).. it was so wonderful in March to have the windows open and enjoy going outside.  But back to reality and a little 30 & 40 degree (which is normal) weather.  So since I was a little chilly the last couple of days with freezing temps I thought what about some soup... and as I was looking around the freezer I saw some ham hocks that needing cooking and a thick slab of bacon that also needed using.  I thought beans.....which made me want both bean soup & cornbread, and also thinking ahead to summer and wanting slow cooked baked beans in the oven, thick and rich with molasses,brown sugar, onions and bacon in them...yummmm so as they say... why not have 2 meals with one base cooking... So I made a huge pot of beans and cooked them together and then separated them into 2 different things... easy ... I made the big pot of beans one day let them cool, refrigerated them overnight and made soup and baked beans the next day...YUM  you can just make the soup, or just cook the beans and make a huge pot of beans...(the base bean recipe is delicious served over a big scoop of hot white rice) a big ladelful of beans and a few dashes of hot sauce.. served with hot cornbread...  your choice... I serve the beans with cornbread...  Enjoy


2 lbs. northern beans, soaked completely covered in water for 4-5 hours or overnight
10 cups water
2 onions, quartered
3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
3 stalks of celery .washed and ends trimmed, cut into big chunks
1/2 cup baby carrots
2 bay leaves
3 beef bullion cubes
1 12 oz. can V8 vegetable juice
2 ham hocks (can use smoked or unsmoked)
1 large piece of whole slab bacon, diced medium

seasonings of your choice (I used regular & seasoned salt, pepper & a pinch of red pepper flakes)

Drain beans and discard soaking water.  In very large stockpot add remaining ingredients and bring to a full boil.  Turn down heat to low and simmer for around 3 hours stirring often.  Turn off heat and let beans completely cool. Mixture will be thick.  Refrigerate overnight. Remove most of the hardened fat off of the top.  Take out ham hocks and remove meat from them (discard bones and skin).  Shred meat and save.

Bean Soup

1 carton of beef stock
2 T. molasses
2 T brown sugar
1 T worchester sauce
1T. white wine
salt & pepper to taste
couple of dashes of hot sauce
1/2 the beans,bacon and liquid from recipe above
veggies from the mixture above (remove and coarsely chop) add to soup pot
1/2 the meat from the ham hocks

Add all of the ingredients to a big stock pot.  Bring to boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. Taste & adjust seasonings if necessary.  Enjoy

Oven Baked Beans

1/2 beans (with the bacon in it) and about 1 cup liquid (put the remaning liquid into the soup)
1 onion, small diced
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 maple syrup
1/2 beef stock (adding an additional 1/2 cup if necessary in last hour of cooking)
1 T worchester sauce
1 T Red wine
1/4 cup ketchup
1 T mustard
6-8 strips of raw thick sliced bacon
 1 T. vinegar

seasonings of your choice (I used salt & pepper,  pinch of cinnamon,nutmeg & red pepper flakes)

Grease a large baking dish.  Add remaining ingredients and stir very well.  Cover dish (with foil or dish lid) and bake at 300 for around 2 hours stirring every 30 minutes. If mixture is dry add another 1/2 cup of beef stock  Place raw bacon on top and bake(uncovered) for 1 hour.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Enjoy


  1. I love beans and cornbread. Guess you'll have a rootin-tootin' weekend - that oughta warm you right up huh? =) You're such a great cook. Stay warm!

    1. Thank you Miss Marsha... for your kind are such a great cook yourself...wanting to make some dreamsicle salad today...YUM

  2. I love the way you add tomato juice (V8) to your beans when you cook them....I love soup beans cooked in tomato juice as some of the liquid. Now I'm hungry for bean soup, and I am the only one that will eat it....