Recipe: Ranch Beans

This recipe is one that has always existed for me. My Mom got the recipe from her ex boyfriend’s Mom before I was born. It was a staple growing up. It was made for every ranch work day. Quite frankly, I take this dish for granted. I didn’t realize just how deeply satisfying and delicious it was until college, when my friends would beg me to take them to my Parent’s with me for lunch. For a while we called these Todd’s beans because my friend Todd talked about them so much when we were in college.

Pure comfort.

Pure comfort.

This recipe is just a suggestion. You can add things, like jalapeños or bay leaves or not. You don’t have to use a ham hock, so they can be vegan or vegetarian. It really depends on your personal preference. My Mom generally doesn’t put peppers in hers,  whereas I go crazy and use chicken stock, bay leaves and jalapeño in mine. It’s important to not salt this dish until the end because the cured pork already has a lot of salt.

Cranberry beans are my favorite bean.

Cranberry beans are my favorite bean.

Ranch Beans

1 ham hock (or meaty ham bone or ham shank if you want a less meaty batch of beans)
1 pound cranberry beans (I think cranberry beans are a must have here, they are a really great bean!)
1 (or 2) minced jalapeños (optional)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)
1 or two bay leaves (optional)
Water or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight, drain and rinse. Place beans in large stock pot or crockpot; add all ingredients and water or broth to cover. Turn heat to high, watch closely, when it starts to boil, place lid on pot and turn temperature to simmer. Simmer for several hours or until beans are cooked and meat has fallen off the ham hock. Use slotted spoon to remove bones and any undesirable parts from ham hock. Then taste, add salt if needed or more pepper, depends on your tastes.

Cleaning the ham hock is a crappy job, lots of little bones and stuff to get out.

Cleaning the ham hock is a crappy job, lots of little bones and stuff to get out.

This makes incredible leftovers too! It also freezes well. Try with it with Mexican cheese and tortillas, it’ll rock your world!


Filed under Ag, agriculture, food, Humor, Know a California Farmer, meat, Ranch life, Recipe, Uncategorized

4 Responses to Recipe: Ranch Beans

  1. Ben Bailey

    Thanks for sharing, Terri and I always like a new bean recipe.

  2. Patty

    Mana from cyber world, my mother in law gave me this recipe 30+ years ago. 10 moves and a fire later it’s found a way back to me. You’re my hero of the day. Thanks

  3. John Moore

    Nothing quite as satisfying as a pot of beans. I recently got one of those electric pressure cookers and it has been amazing for beans. We can go from dried beans to finished in 30 min. They have become a weeknight staple for us.

  4. Gustavo Morado

    Trying this tonight in a pressure cooker with 4 cups of stock and 2 cups of water for 45 min.

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