Warm up with a comforting bowl of Old-fashioned Ham and Beans Stew. Made with simple ingredients like beans, ham, garlic, and onion. This stew is hearty, flavorful, and perfect for a cold day. This classic recipe is easy to make and is sure to become a family favorite.
The combination of beans and ham creates a rich and hearty stew, while the garlic and onion add depth of flavor.
It’s a one-pot meal that is perfect for a budget-friendly dinner, and it’s also great for meal prepping.
You can easily prepare it in a larger quantity and keep in the refrigerator or even freeze and keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
What I like about this recipe is that it is simple to make, it is calling for simple ingredients that you can find in your pantry and it is a great way to use your leftover ham or other leftover vegetables that you have.
You can use this recipe as a starting point and add more vegetables to it to make it to your liking.
Another advantage of this recipe is that you can prepare it using different methods. You can make in on the stovetop, slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker.
Usually, I’m making it in the slow cooker because it requires minimum attention from my side and it is cooking almost alone.
It allows you to set it and forget it, and come back to a delicious meal ready to serve.
And today is not an exception.
We will make it in the slow cooker, but you can follow just the steps and cook it on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker. The steps will be the same.
Also, if you want to make this recipe vegetarian, you can easily replace the ham with a vegetable broth and add some extra vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots, or celery.
You can also make it gluten-free by using gluten-free broth or water.
If you prefer a spicier stew, you can add some chili powder or cayenne pepper to the recipe.
In summary, this Old-fashioned Ham and Beans Stew recipe is a delicious, easy, and budget-friendly meal that is perfect for any occasion.
It’s a great option for families, busy people, or anyone who wants a comforting and satisfying meal.
The recipe is also versatile, can be cooked in different ways, and is easily adjusted to suit different dietary needs.
Let’s get started!
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- You will love making this recipe because it is simple to make, you will need only a few basic ingredients and it doesn’t require any specific tools in order to cook it.
- It can be cooked in different ways, such as on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or pressure cooker, which makes it very convenient and allows you to choose the cooking method that best suits your schedule.
- It is a budget-friendly recipe as the beans and jam are both inexpensive ingredients making this recipe an affordable option for a hearty and satisfying meal.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
- Beans. I used dried beans because I wanted to opt for a healthier option. But this takes longer because you need to soak the beans overnight to shorten their cooking time and soften them. If you are pressed by time, you could easily substitute them with canned beans. For an addition of color, you can use beans of different colors to get a more colorful plate.
- Ham. Of course, you can buy a piece of ham for this recipe, but I would recommend you save the recipe for the days when you will have some ham leftovers after the holidays. If you decide to opt for the option with leftovers, you could also boil the ham bone to provide extra flavor and taste.
- Onion, Garlic. I used fresh onions and garlic, but you could easily replace them with dried onions and garlic, just keep in mind that if you use the dry ones, you will need to increase the quantity because they are weaker in taste. Besides the onions and garlic, you could easily add other vegetables such as carrots, celery, or parsnip.
- Seasonings. I used a simple mix of Black Pepper, Salt, and Bay Leaf. These are the basic spices for this recipe, but of course, you could also use other spices or aromatic herbs. A few ideas will be hot pepper, sage, or rosemary.
- Olive Oil. We use the oil to saute the vegetables. You could replace the olive oil with any other frying oil you prefer or you can use butter instead for an even better result.
- Water. I used the water to boil the beans, but if you want a deeper taste, you could replace it with vegetable or meat broth.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
First, chop the onion and garlic. After this, you can cook them a little on the pan, or as in my case, I did everything directly in the slow cooker.
For this, pour a little bit of oil and add the chopped onion, garlic, and bay leaf.
Simmer until the onion becomes transparent. This will take about 7 minutes on medium-to-low heat.
After this time, the onions will become a little transparent.
When the vegetables have softened, add the ham, beans, and spices you have decided to use.
Mix them well and pour water or broth over them until all the beans will be covered by the liquid.
Cook them on low heat for an hour and a half.
Pro Tip: The cooking time may vary depending on the beans and how hard the water you use is. For this reason, I recommend you check the beans every half hour and add more boiled hot water if you notice that it has dropped below the level of the beans.
When the beans are soft, the stew is ready to be served.
For more color and freshness on the plate, add chopped parsley and a little extra virgin olive oil.
If you don’t have fresh parsley, you may add dried oregano.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
The easiest way to serve the old-fashioned ham and beans stew is to serve it near warm crusty bread or a baguette. It will allow you to dip in the flavorful broth and soak up any leftovers.
If you’re looking for a more balanced meal, consider serving it near a simple salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and maybe a little bit of lemon juice for extra acidity.
If you’re looking for even more flavor and richness, you may consider sprinkling a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese, parmesan, pecorino, or gouda on top of it.
🏆 Expert Tips. What to Pay Attention To?
- If you are using dry beans, not canned ones, in order to reduce their cooking time, consider leaving the beans to soak overnight. By doing that, you will reduce their cooking time and the beans will soften. Be sure to drain and rinse the beans before using them.
- As there the ham has an important role in the dish, pick a good quality ham that has a good balance of meat and fat. This will add more flavor to the stew.
- Consider sauteing the onions and garlic before you will add the rest of the ingredients over them. By sauteing, you will bring out their flavor and will make the stew more flavorful in the end. It is a simple step that many of us are trying to skip, but it makes a big difference.
- Want more flavor? Consider using flavorful broth instead of plain water. By using a vegetable or meat broth, you will add more depth of flavor to the stew.
- If you will make this recipe on the stove, consider using a heavy bottom pot to ensure that the stew will cook evenly.
- Don’t be afraid to bring your own touch to this recipe. Experiment with different vegetables, spices, and seasonings to make the recipe your own.
♻️ Make Ahead, Storage and Heating:
Can I Prepare It Ahead?
It’s a perfect recipe that you can cook on the weekend and have food reserves for the next half week. Or you may prepare it in an even larger quantity and freeze it.
How Long Does The Stew Last in the Fridge?
It should be safe to eat for up to 4 days if you will keep it in an air-tight container.
Can You Freeze the Stew?
Yes, it freezes perfectly for up 6 months without losing too much of its original taste and texture.
How to Heat The Old Fashioned Ham and Beans Stew?
The easiest way to reheat it will be in the microwave or on the stove on medium heat.
📋 Recipe Card:
Old Fashioned Ham and Beans Stew
- 1 lb Beans
- ½ lb Ham
- 1 Onion small
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Salt if needed
- 2 Bay Leaf
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 4 cups Water
- If you are using dried beans, leave them to soak overnight.1 lb Beans
- Chop the onions and garlic and saute them in a little bit of oil and a bay leaf.1 Onion, 2 cloves Garlic, 2 tablespoon Olive Oil, 2 Bay Leaf
- Add the vegetables, beans, ham and spices.1 lb Beans, ½ lb Ham, 1 Onion, ½ teaspoon Black Pepper, 2 cloves Garlic
- Mix all the ingredients well, and pour water or broth until you cover all the ingredients.4 cups Water
- Let it simmer on medium to low heat for about 1 hour and a half.
- At the end, sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley or shredded cheese.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- After soaking, drain the beans well and wash them before you start cooking them.
- Check every half hour the beans, and if the liquid level has dropped, add more boiled hot water until you cover the beans again.
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