Old Fashioned Beans and Ham

IMG_8663Ingredients: 3 C Mix of Dry beans **I start with at least 1/2-1C of the mix beans then add in pinto, black eyed peas, and lima
3 carrots peeled and rough chopped
3 sticks celery rough chopped
yellow onion chopped
1 can of stewed tomatoes
2 cans chicken broth ( may need more, I get one extra can)
Ham Hock
Ham Steak, chopped into cubes
4-7 cloves garlic minced
pepper, salt, chili powder, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder   Directions:
Pour dry beans out in small batches on a plate, sift through to look for rocks and such. Fill a large pot with water and begin to add beans to water after they have been sifted through. Once all beans are added, turn pot on high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat off or very low, cover and leave for 1 hour.

Drain, Rinse, and add beans back to pot. Put in enough Chicken broth and or water to just cover beans. Add more liquid as needed through out cooking. Put in the ham hock and turn the heat back on to med-low, watch it can boil over or burn the bottom rather quickly. Make sure to stir once in a while.
As the beans start to come back to a slight boil add in seasonings. They are to your taste, at least a teaspoon or more of the chili powder, parsley, and garlic powder, add minced garlic. (*I would give you a specific on how much,but it is a family recipe and its been passed down to always just throw in what you like)
  My mom lets her beans simmer for a hour or two maybe more. Mine takes a hour if that once I have them back in and heated again. They need to be thick, not soup like, but we do not want mushy beans either.  In the last 20 min before serving, put in veggies, can of tomatoes (squish tomatoes with spoon or your hands before adding) and cut up ham steak. Take ham hock out before serving, my mom takes hers out before adding veggies.   If vegetarian you can omit ham, the ham hock gives flavor so you may need to look for alternate seasoning if you choose not to add in ham hock. Also If you are a veggie freak, I am, I always add in one or two more sticks of carrots and piece of celery. But DO NOT add in more tomatoes, I tried once and the flavor was just not good. I hope you enjoy! It freezes well for up to a 6-8 months. When unthawing, it is best to let it sit out and in fridge, not to force it through heating frozen block in pot. When having for left overs, out of freezer, you may need to add a little water and mix. Season with pepper and salt to taste!      

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