After a hellish July and August when the heat would beat you into the parched earth, September has broken cool and moist. The cool temperature is perfect for crock pot and simmering dishes.
Early in the morning, Becky breaks out the Rival Crock-Pot Cookbook, (published when “Hector was just a pup”), the great northern beans, a smoked ham hock from Harter House, and Jiffy Corn bread mix and begins filling the house with the great aroma of simmering beans, veggies and meat. Amazingly, since we open the windows this time of year, the whole neighborhood can get the whiff of this simple but filling meal.
I used to make the beans, but Becky was concerned with my habit of cooking the beans all day in a stew pot on the stove while at same time I left the beans unattended and ran errands. She likes the security of the Crock-Pot better.
The recipe is as follows:
- Pre soak 1 pound of great northern beans, I also add a handful of pinto beans to give color and some additional flavor;
- Meaty Ham hocks, quantity depends on your meat tolerance;
- Broth (chicken or vegetable) and water, enough to create 2 quarts of liquid or enough to amply cover the beans in the Crock-Pot;
- 1 medium onion, chopped;
- 1 celery stalk, chopped;
- 1 carrot, chopped;
- 5 whole peppercorns;
- Cook in the Crock-Pot on high for about 60 minutes and than reduce to low for the rest of the day.
Corn bread is a must and we use old reliable Jiffy mix. The directions says 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees, but we find it is done just shy of 15 minutes.
The leftovers are as good as the day the dish was made. Tonight I will use Clos du Bois chardonnay and midget sweet pickles to accent the meal. Truly Hearty comfort food that leaves you satisfied and smiling.