After Christmas, we were in a rush to leave town, so I just shoved the leftover ham in the freezer. Yesterday I took some of it out and made this simple and tasty stew in the crock pot. Remember that you'll need to soak the beans overnight if you plan to start the stew in the slow cooker in the morning. This is a slightly different take on a soup I made around this time two years ago.
1 1/2 cups dried white beans
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, quartered
2-3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Black pepper to taste
2-3 cups chopped cooked ham
Salt to taste
Soak the beans overnight in a couple times their volume of water.
In the morning, drain and rinse the beans and place them in the slow cooker. Add enough water to cover them by about 1/2-inch. Add the bay leaf, onion, garlic, and pepper, put the cover on, and cook on High for 7-9 hours.
Optional: when the beans are tender, you can puree them fully or partially. If you opt to do this, be sure to remove the garlic, onion, and bay leaf first.
Add the ham somewhere behalf mid-day and serving time (and, if you choose to puree the beans, after you have done so). Remove the garlic, onion, and bay leaf if you have not already done so, and serve.