Beans and Cornbread

Since we’re all economizing during the recession, I thought I’d give you my own recipe for beans and cornbread.  Well, beans….  I’ll deal with cornbread later.  I grew up on beans and cornbread; it was a staple of mountain living.  Our beans of choice were “October” beans, which resembled the Cranberry beans found in stories today, but I’m not sure they’re the same.

There are a couple of easy ways to fix dried beans.  All you need is some water or broth, maybe an onion, salt and pepper, and some country ham.  I usually get one of the little cheap packets that’s says “Country Ham for Ham Biscuits.”

1. If you use a crock pot, soak the beans overnight, then drain them and dump them into the pot with the chopped onion and the ham cut into pieces.  Cover liberally with water or broth, and add salt, pepper, and whatever spices you want.  Cook all day on low.  When you get home for supper, the whole house will smell like a kitchen in the mountains.
2. If you use a regular pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions (along with any other veggies you’d like, like chopped celery or shredded carrots), turn off the stove, add the beans, and cover with soaking water.  Let it all sit there for several hours.  The bring the mixture to a hard boil for five minutes, turn down to simmer, and let it cook (low and slow) several more hours until the beans are tender.  Add the ham or any herbs or spices you’d like during the simmering time.  You can then serve the dish as “soup beans” or drain the beans (reserving the liquid as vegetable broth) and serve them as a side dish.

It’s simple, cheap, healthy, and good.

PS – Changing the subject, there are interesting reports in today’s news about the debate between the brilliant Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, and the militant atheist Christopher Hitchens.  You can find links to it here and here.