Beans and Ham

Who fights for the ham bone and turkey carcass after Thanksgiving dinner?  My sister and I do.  This year she got the turkey and I got the ham.  It’s a good thing we had one of each.   I’m always astounded when I hear friends say they threw theirs away.  When I ask, “Why in the world did you do that?!”  They give one of the following reasons:

I didn’t feel like dealing with it.  My answer:  Put it in the freezer and deal with it later.

I don’t ever want to deal with it.  My answer:  Bring it to me, and I’ll deal with it.

I don’t know how to deal with it.  My answer below:

This blog is specifically about using a meaty ham bone.  I’ll deal with the turkey carcass on a future blog.

In a previous blog, I shared my recipe for beans and sausage.  When I’m using a ham hock, I make red beans or pinto beans with smoked sausage and season with red pepper for a Cajun flavor.  But, when I get the Thanksgiving ham with lots of meat still on the bone, I make beans like my Mama made beans.  No sausage in these beans as the ham is the meat and she used black pepper instead of red pepper.   BTW:  Mama’s family came to Mississippi in the 1930’s from Bowie, Arizona, and we had an aunt in Arizona who would send us new crop pintos every year.  BTW:  New crop beans are like new crop pecans.  They’re always better.

Mama always served beans and ham over a piece of white bread.  We loved this when we were kids.  Now I really like them just as a soup with a piece of cornbread.  My family likes them over rice.  They are also good spooned over crusty garlic French bread.

Remember, if you don’t want to do this right after Thanksgiving, you can freeze the ham bone or you can make your broth and freeze to pull out later.  I have one whole freezer shelf dedicated to chicken, ham, pork, and beef broth. Homemade broths always, always, always make the best soups, dressing, and gravy.

And, never fear, if you did throw away the Thanksgiving ham bone, there’s always Christmas.

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