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Slow Cooker Great Northern Beans: A Smoky and Savory Delight


Calling all bean lovers, this recipe is for you! This Slow Cooker Great Northern Beans is about to become your new weeknight hero. It's a symphony of smoky and savory flavors that effortlessly comes together in your crockpot. Minimal prep work on your end translates to maximum flavor and satisfaction in your bowl.

Why This Slow Cooker Recipe Deserves a Spot on Your Menu:

  • Slow Cooker Magic: This recipe harnesses the power of your slow cooker. Let it do the hard work while the flavors slowly develop and meld into a truly satisfying dish. It's perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends – toss everything in and let the crockpot work its magic!
  • Smoky Delight: The secret ingredient? Smoked ham hocks! These infuse the beans with a rich, smoky flavor that elevates them to a whole new level. It's a flavor explosion in every bite!
  • Hearty Comfort Food at its Finest: This hearty bean dish is packed with protein and fiber, making it a complete and satisfying meal on its own. Plus, it's incredibly budget-friendly – a win-win!

Gather the Ingredients for Your Slow Cooker Adventure:

  • For the Savory Base:
    • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar - a touch of sweetness to balance the savory flavors
    • 1 onion, chopped - adds depth and aroma to the base
    • 1 ½ lb. smoked ham hocks - the star that infuses smoky goodness
  • The Star of the Show:
    • 1 lb. dried great northern beans - the base of this hearty and delicious dish
  • Seasoning and Finishing Touches:
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste - adjust to your preference

Step-by-Step Guide to Slow Cooker Bean Bliss:

  1. Prep and Assemble: Rinse the dried great northern beans thoroughly in a colander. Add the rinsed beans to the bottom of your crockpot.
  2. Layering the Flavor: Now it's time to build the flavor profile. Top the beans with the chopped onion and the smoked ham hocks.
  3. Liquid Magic: Pour enough water into the crockpot to cover the beans by about 2 inches. This ensures even cooking and prevents the beans from drying out.
  4. High Heat for a Kickstart: Cook the beans on high for 2 hours. This initial high heat helps to break down the beans and kickstart the cooking process.
  5. Low and Slow for Flavor Development: After the initial 2 hours on high, reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional 4-5 hours. Let the slow cooker work its magic! This low and slow cooking allows the flavors to develop and meld beautifully, resulting in tender and flavorful beans.
  6. The Ham Hocks' Encore: Once the cooking time is complete, remove the ham hocks from the crockpot. Be careful, they will be hot! Discard the bones and using two forks, shred the meat from the ham hocks.
  7. Bringing it All Together: Return the shredded ham meat back to the crockpot with the beans and stir everything together. Now, season the beans with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  8. Serve and Savor: Serve your Slow Cooker Great Northern Beans hot and enjoy the delicious and comforting flavors of this hearty dish.

Tips for Extra Slow Cooker Goodness:

  • Richer Flavor with Soaking: For an even richer flavor, soak the dried beans overnight in cold water before cooking. Don't forget to drain and rinse them before adding them to the crockpot.
  • Veggie Boost: Feel free to add other vegetables to the crockpot along with the beans. Chopped carrots, celery, or bell peppers would be delicious additions.
  • Leftovers for the Win: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat them gently on the stovetop or in the microwave for another round of smoky bean goodness!