Baked Ham, Beans and Dumplings

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After 3 major snowfalls in one week, we were more than ready for something hearty, warm and comforting for supper.  I used ingredients and techniques from a couple of my favorite recipes to make this dish which my two daughters and I loved.

BAKED HAM, BEANS AND DUMPLINGS

2-½ cups (home-cooked or two 10 oz cans) Great Northern beans, drained lightly
½ cup cooked ham, cubed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup milk
1 packet (small envelope) Goya ham seasoning (optional but adds really nice flavor)
Dash of pepper
10 oz can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Dumplings:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 Tblsp. Shortening (Crisco)
½ cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Greased 9 inch baking dish

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Place drained beans and ham in the bottom of a greased 9-inch baking dish.

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In a small bowl or food processor, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, ham seasoning and pepper.

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Whisk in undiluted cream of mushroom soup.

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Pour soup mixture over beans and ham in baking dish.

Prepare dumplings:
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening and stir in milk.  Drop mixture by measuring tablespoon in small dollops on top of mixture in baking dish.

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Bake in preheated 400 degree F oven for approximately 20-25 minutes until dumplings are done and very light brown on top.

4-6 servings

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Refrigerated leftovers are good warmed uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  The dumplings will be crispy on top but still delicious.

Autumn Chicken and Beans

My youngest daughter e-mailed this recipe to me back in November of 2003 – a dish that was just right for the brisk weather of November.  It’s a quick and easy dish to make if you have cooked chicken breast on hand.  The one-cup servings are perfect for those watching the fat and calories before and after Thanksgiving.  A two-cup serving would be a hearty autumn meal.

AUTUMN CHICKEN AND BEANS

  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced tart apple
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked, cubed chicken breast
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 15.5 oz. can of cannellini beans*
  • 1 Tbsp. raisins
  • Salt/Pepper

*Navy, Great Northern, pinto or kidney beans can be substituted

In a large skillet, saute onion, pepper, apple and garlic in oil until apple cubes are fork tender.

Add the chicken, cumin, and cinnamon.  Stir in beans and raisins.  Heat to boiling, then lower heat and simmer 5 to 8 minutes until mixture is slightly thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Serve at once.

4 one-cup servings or 2 generous servings.

Beans and Dumplings – A Depression-Era Meal

One of my earliest memories is of sitting at a table with my mother, father and little sister.  We are in a one-room, second-floor flat on Elm Street in downtown Cincinnati in the mid-1930s.  All day, Mother has watched over a simmering pot of beans with a pig hock added for flavor.  My father has come in from his timekeeper job on the WPA and we are having about the cheapest supper possible in the midst of the Great Depression.  I have a plateful of beans and a tiny bit of the small amount of meat that is on a pig hock (my father gets the biggest portion of meat and my mother claims to love chewing around on the bone).  The beans are steaming and the teaspoon or so of meat is flavorful – I love it!  It was said in my family that you weren’t an Applegate if you didn’t love beans, so I guess I qualified as a full-fledged member of my father’s side of the family.

As time went on and my father moved to better jobs with the City of Cincinnati and then Dayton Acme (a World War II defense plant), there was more money in my mother’s food budget and she stopped using the mostly-fat pig hocks and either threw in a pork chop or two to cook with the beans or had crisp bacon or fried ham on the side.  This was the only time my father ate pork … along with his beans topped with chopped onion and a lot of black pepper.

By the time my future husband started coming to the house for meals, Mother had added a big cast iron skillet full of fried potatoes to the menu.  It was his favorite supper.  After we were married, I continued to have this meal one night a week.  Every time I hear the John Denver song, “Back Home Again” and the line about “supper on the stove” and the wife who felt the baby move, I think about my young husband coming home to an expectant wife in our little apartment with the windows all steamed up and a big white and red graniteware pot of beans simmering on the range.

My four children didn’t inherit their parents’ love of a bean supper and I got out of the habit of making it.  But now that I’m alone, I crave the beans of my childhood, especially in the fall and winter.  I make a healthier, easier version with a slow cooker.

GREAT NORTHERN CROCKPOT BEANS

  • 1/2 lb. Great Northern dry beans
  • 6 cups cold water*
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ham flavored soup base (L. B. Jamison’s)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place the dry beans cold water in the slow cooker.  *I use this amount of water to insure that I’ll have enough broth to make dumplings.  Cook on low overnight – approximately 8 hours.  Add the ham flavoring, then taste before adding salt and pepper.

I was the only one in the family who liked dumplings with my beans and I used to make a one-person serving.  This works very well for me now when I want to make a meal just for myself.

DUMPLINGS FOR ONE

  • 1/4 cup of My Biscuit Mix**
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. (approx.) of cold water

In a small bowl, stir the biscuit mix and water together to make a thick, moist dough.

Heat about 1 cup of bean broth and 1 cup of beans in a small pot to boiling.  Drop the dough into the boiling mixture by the tablespoonful, making three dumplings.

Lower the heat to simmering, cover the pot and continue simmering for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.  Note:  The white and red graniteware lid is from my original 1952 set.

Serve immediately with chopped onion and a grating of black pepper.  A small serving of meat is good, but not necessary (to me, at least).  Today, I happened to be browning hot sausage to freeze for my Thanksgiving stuffing and kept back enough to make myself a small grilled patty.  It tasted wonderful.  This is truly my soul food.

**MY BISCUIT MIX

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tblsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)

Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Cut in the vegetable shortening.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

This is good for making individual servings of biscuits, pancakes … and dumplings. 


Recipe for Walt’s Polish Stuffing