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"Everytime" creamy navy beans and ham {recipe}

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There ain't nothing more comforting than a big pot of creamy navy beans and ham! These are slowly simmered into a rich, deeply flavored bowl of Southern comfort.

This is a very simple recipe. It comes down to two ingredients plus a few add ons playing a supporting role. It's proof that humble ingredients can come together and make an extraordinary dish.

Give yourself some time. Plan these for a Sunday dinner and eat on the leftovers for two, three, maybe four days. They're just that good.

navy beans and hame in white bowl

Beats and Eats (Music to pair with Navy Beans and Ham)

The beauty of this dish is that it comes out great every time. It really is tough to mess up. Time is the main ingredient. The longer it cooks the better it gets. I catch those same feelings when I listen to Big K.R.I.T.'s "Everytime." The beat is amazing, but it's the vocals by Baby Rose that delivers and comforts like these navy beans.

Ingredients Needed To Make Navy Beans and Ham

  • Dry Navy Beans
  • Ham Hocks
  • Butter
  • Yellow Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Bay Leaf
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Cheese Rinds - optional but adds a subtle but complex amount of flavor
  • Almond Milk
  • Cider Vinegar
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Allspice

How To Cook Navy Beans and Ham (Step By Step)

  1. Soak the beans in water overnight.
  2. Heat a dutch oven pot on medium heat. Add the butter and melt.
  3. Add the onions and celery then saute 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Season as you go so as you saute the vegetables add some of the seasonings.
  4. Add the ham hocks and saute a minute or two to release some of the flavor.
  5. Add the bay leaf, cheese rind, beans, plus water. Add more seasoning and the thyme then bring beans to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the almond milk. Mix well and cover. Let simmer for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
  6. Add the cider and let cook another 30 minutes.
  7. Remove 2 cups of the beans from the pot to a bowl. Smash the beans to a creamy paste using the back of a meat tenderizer or spoon. Add the beans back plus the remaining seasoning to the pot and mix well. Allow to cook another five minutes, then serve.
navy beans and ham in a pot

Cooking Considerations and Tips for Making Beans and Hams

This recipe works with other beans if you don't have access to dried navy beans. Cannellini beans are a great alternative to navy beans. Lima beans work well also.

Definitely go with dry beans, but make sure you soak them overnight. This will reduce the cooking time and help to get those creamy beans.

Almond milk may sound odd but it does two things. One it adds that nutty almond flavor which makes for a unique tasting experience. Two it adds to that creamy element from a texture perspective.

Cheese rinds are another mystery ingredient. There is a lot of flavor in the rind. Cheese is salt, fat, and some acid. All those elements are present on a small level in the rinds ands some flavor to the beans.

Adding acid in the form of cider vinegar opens and lightens the dish a bit. It's still creamy and comforting but you need something to break up the savory fattiness from the ham hocks.

Season as you go for more of a layered flavor profile.

For cheese rinds go with the rind from a hard cheese like parm or manchego.

Serve these beans with a few comfort food sides like Southern collard greens, stewed okra and tomatoes, or instant pot carrots. Don't forget to cook up that batch of hot water cornbread also!

navy beans and ham in a pot

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Making Navy Beans

Can I Make Beans and Ham with other types of beans?

Yes, cannellini and pinto beans go really well in this recipe. Same for lima beans.

Can You Cook These In An Instant Pot?

Yes. Follow this White Beans Stew recipe for instructions on how to convert this recipe to instant pot cooking.

How Long Do You Cook Beans For?

These will take somewhere between ninety minutes to two hours. You can cook longer for an even more creamy texture. I tend to stop closer to ninety minutes as I like a mix of creaminess and some snap to the beans.

For Similar Recipes You Might Like, Try These:

Southern Pinto Beans

Heirloom Cranberry Beans

Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans

Instant Pot Baked Beans

Red Beans and Rice

navy beans and ham in a white bowl topped with red onions

Comforting Navy Beans and Ham

A comforting bowl of navy beans and ham hocks for a cold winter's night. These are slow simmered to a deeply flavored & creamy pot of beans.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Soul Food
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 260kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Dry Navy Beans
  • 2 medium Ham Hocks
  • 2 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion diced
  • 3 stalks Celery diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic diced
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1-2 Cheese Rinds
  • ½ cup Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Cider Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Allspice

Instructions

  • Soak the beans in water overnight.
  • Heat a dutch oven pot on medium heat. Add the butter and melt.
  • Add the onions and celery then saute 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
  • Season as you go so as you saute the vegetables add some of the seasonings.
  • Add the ham hocks and saute a minute or two to release some of the flavor.
  • Add the bay leaf, cheese rind, beans, plus water. Add more seasoning and the thyme then bring beans to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the almond milk. Mix well and cover. Let simmer for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
  • Add the cider and let cook another 30 minutes.
  • Remove 2 cups of the beans from the pot to a bowl. Smash the beans to a creamy paste using the back of a meat tenderizer or spoon.
  • Add the beans back plus the remaining seasoning to the pot and mix well. Allow to cook another five minutes, then serve.

Notes

This recipe works with other beans if you don't have access to dried navy beans. Cannellini beans are a great alternative to navy beans. Lima beans work well also.
Definitely go with dry beans, but make sure you soak them overnight. This will reduce the cooking time and help to get those creamy beans.
Almond milk may sound odd but it does two things. One it adds that nutty almond flavor which makes for a unique tasting experience. Two it adds to that creamy element from a texture perspective.
Cheese rinds are another mystery ingredient. There is a lot of flavor in the rind. Cheese is salt, fat, and some acid. All those elements are present on a small level in the rinds ands some flavor to the beans.
Adding acid in the form of cider vinegar opens and lightens the dish a bit. It's still creamy and comforting but you need something to break up the savory fattiness from the ham hocks.
Season as you go for more of a layered flavor profile.
Serve these beans with a few comfort food sides like Southern collard greens, stewed okra and tomatoes, or instant pot carrots.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 456mg | Potassium: 464mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 416IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




Gina

Sunday 27th of February 2022

What meat do you suggest that I substitute for the ham hocks? I do not eat pork.

Marwin Brown

Tuesday 1st of March 2022

Smoked turkey works great. I've used turkey necks, tails, and wings bought from my local grocery store.

Cathleen

Sunday 27th of February 2022

I am so excited to make this recipe!! Pinned to make next weekend, thank you so much for the recipe :)

Katie Crenshaw

Sunday 27th of February 2022

Made these beans with some homemade cornbread. The texture and the flavor of the beans came out perfect!

Silvia

Sunday 27th of February 2022

I agree! nothing like a comforting bowl of beans and ham. This recipe is super easy to make and very flavorful. The recipe is great for my family of four plus leftover for another day.

Tammy

Sunday 27th of February 2022

A slice of crusty bread is all this dish needs! What a comforting and delicious recipe...this is really perfect for cold nights. I love it!