I had the end of a spiral cut, pre-cooked city ham and could think of nothing better to do with it but make some White Beans! Good ole South Louisiana Style White Beans. Now, when looking for them in the grocery store, they’re going to be labeled Navy Beans (peas). I have mistakenly bought Great White Northern beans before, and they don’t come out bad; navy beans are just better.
As for the meat, most recipes will call for some pork. I’ve used sausage, bacon, and ham. Lots of folks around here use salt pork, although I’ve never cooked with it; the beans come out delicious. Whichever type of pork used, the ratio is roughly one pound of meat for every pound of beans.
Start by rinsing and sorting the dry beans in a pressure cooker. Look for what I consider “ugly” beans and pieces of dirt or trash.
Pour in six cups of water and bring to a boil; let boil two minutes. Turn the fire off and cover. Let the beans soak for one hour. While the beans are soaking, prepare the ham. I remove the ham from the bone and cut into cubes.
My ham is fully cooked, but I still like to smother it down with the onions and garlic.
After the beans have soaked, drain them, add seasonings, onions, garlic, and ham. Now, it’s up to the cook, but most Cajuns would probably add the ham bone as well. Pour in five cups of water and turn the fire to high.
Close the lid of the pressure cooker, and when the steam starts to escape from the valve, turn the fire to medium/low. Let the beans pressurize for seven minutes and remove from heat. Allow the steam to escape until no longer pressurized and remove the lid.
Add parsley to the beans and let cook at a simmer until the beans are tender and creamy. Serve over rice, sprinkle with parsley.
It so happens that not all pots of beans soften the same. When purchasing dry beans, try to get the freshest possible and try not to store them for long before cooking. Some people swear by adding a little salt or baking soda during soak time. Also, factors like hard water and exposure to humidity play a part in the beans’ ability to soften.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED: (what I used)
- 1 lb Navy Beans (peas)
- 1 lb Smoked City Ham
- 1 large chopped Onion
- 3 toes pressed Garlic
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Cajun Seasoning
- 2 tsp chopped Parsley