Ham + Beans a Love Story

Ham + Beans a Love Story

Two quintessential leftovers tango to form a perfect union

by Reed DeWinter

Let’s say sometime this season you’re going to have some dinner guests over to enjoy a large piece of meat. Chances are high you’re going to be saddled with leftovers — what are you going to do? Soak a few cups of beans and you’ve got yourself 7 days of fantastic dinners, not to mention lunches. In other words: leftovers.

Don’t make that face. Don’t moan, groan, and sigh because we just used the L word. We’re going to prove to you that leftovers don’t have to be boring, twice heated, freezer burnt, wilted piles of half-rotten food. In fact they can be extraordinary experiments in flavordom (with a little help).

Let’s face it, if you’re a cook, most of the time you’re either creating leftovers or eating them. We often make too much, or someone at the table doesn’t “feel like” ham again tonight. So there the ham sits, neglected, lurking in a dark corner of the fridge, waiting to transmogrify into some horrible hammy experiment in biology. Or... with a little creativity, a little daring, you can convert that container of ham into something tasty, something wonderful, something better than the meal from whence it came!

It may take some time, and a little foresight, but if we can train ourselves to see the contents of the refrigerator through a lens of culinary conservation and creativity, we can make anything happen. Just like foraging, once you know what you’re looking for, you see it everywhere.
Let’s start with ham and beans. We all know it’s a match made in heaven, but have you ever pushed this dynamic duo beyond ham and bean soup with a side of cornbread?

With this batch of recipes, Chef Ethan Snider (Summah Hummus and Fond) shows us how to take leftovers to the next level. With humble appearances by the egg, the potato, leftover bread, and seasonal veggies, you’re going to make that ham a star. And keep your eyes peeled for pickle juice and pâté.

Regarding that ham, chip it, slice it thin, cube it if you must, or simply crisp the edges in a skillet and you’ve got a whole new ingredient to play with.

Don’t forget that fateful night when your Dad said, “If you don’t eat it tonight, you’ll eat if for breakfast.” My response today, “That’s a great idea Dad – I’ll add it to my omelette in the morning!” Whatever happened to those days of waste-not, want-not?
Ham makes the world worthwhile and beans might actually save the world – what a perfect partnership.

Reed is an industrial designer specializing in medical device research and development. He snuck into the Edible Ohio Valley offices and won’t leave. What he contributes to this publication is anyone’s guess, though occasionally he has been caught working on illustration and copyediting. His ID work can be found at hfdw.com.