This family recipe is from my mother, Anne. Every Christmas and Easter she cooked a ham. This recipe was a way to be frugal and use every bit of it. She took the ham bone and turned it into a delicious pot of beans. This is one of the first recipes I tried to cook on my own. I put all the ingredients into a huge metal crockpot thinking I would have a wonderful dinner waiting for me after work. Instead, I came home to burnt and crispy beans. I’ve perfected the recipe since then and it is now looked forward to and enjoyed by my family. It freezes well and tastes great over pasta or all by itself accompanied by a big green salad and French bread or garlic bread.
Rinse beans thoroughly, looking through them to remove any dirt or small rocks.
Place beans into 5 â 8 quart pot or dutch oven, cover them with the water, put lid on, and soak overnight.
Next day, you will notice that the beans have absorbed most of the water you started out with so add fresh water to the beans so they are just covered.
On medium heat, bring the pot of water and beans to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat so the water is just simmering. Cover the pot and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender.
Stir in the tomatoes, catsup, crushed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper then add the ham hock or bone into the cooked beans. Cover again and continue to simmer on low to medium low heat for another hour then take lid off and cook for one to two more hours, stirring and tasting occasionally.
You know they are done when the beans are tender, the ham falls off the bone and the sauce has thickened.