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My family ate pinto beans and ham A LOT when I was growing up in the South.
Pinto beans are inexpensive, nourishing, and very satisfying - a great way to feed a family on a budget. Plus, to be completely honest, pinto beans are great even without the ham hock.
The ham hock just adds more flavorful goodness, but pinto beans are also great cooked with just water, salt and pepper. The beans cook up with a nice rich, saucy broth all on their own!
Perfect Pinto Beans and Ham Tips
I always soak my dry pintos before cooking. At least 8 hours is recommended, but I almost always soak mine for 48 hours (yes, you read that right). It greatly helps with the digestibility, and the beans won't go bad unless your house is very warm. You will know if they've gone bad if they smell rotten.
I simply add the dry beans to my slow cooker without washing and cover with lots of cold water. You may need to add more water after a few hours, as they take on water pretty quickly. Not only will the soaking remove some of the gas-causing enzymes, it will soften the beans and make them quicker to cook.
After soaking, I simply rinse the pinto beans in a colander thoroughly under cool, clean water and return to the rinsed-out slow cooker.
I then add water just to cover and my ham hock. DON'T ADD SALT AT THIS TIME, as the pinto beans may not soften properly during cooking. Wait to add the salt once the beans have softened (close to the end of cooking).
Serve these pinto beans with my Easy Southern Skillet Cornbread for an easy, nutritious, and satisfying meal.
I hope you love these pinto beans with ham and want to serve them often! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe (Slow Cooker)
- 2 pounds dry pinto beans, soaked for at least 8 hours
- water to cover
- 1-½ pound ham (pork) hock
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- ½ tsp ground black pepper, more to taste
- 1 tsp dry parsley flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Place pre-soaked, rinsed pintos in clean 5- 6-quart slow cooker and add water just to cover.
- Add black pepper, parsley, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder and stir to blend. (Don't add salt until close to the end of cooking time.)
- Place ham hock down into the center of the beans and cover.
- Turn heat to high and cook for 6-8 hours or until beans are nicely softened. Check at around 6 hours to see if beans are starting to soften. If they are, you can then add the salt and stir.
- Serve with corn bread and salad if desired for a satisfying, hearty meal.