Slow-cooked Beans and Ham

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Sophie Hansen and Annie Herron share a selection of their favourite recipes, guaranteed to warm your belly and your soul over winter.

I try to make batches of this regularly through winter so there’s always something healthy and hearty in the fridge ready to reheat. We all love this on toast and it’s a great filling meal to start the day, especially on those long, cold days when we don’t get home until late in the evening. These beans are also good for lunch and dinner, as per my serving suggestions below.

Prep time: 20 mins, plus overnight soaking
Cook time: 6 hours and 15 mins
Serves 6


2½ cups dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 smoked ham hock
2 brown onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
2 thyme sprigs
400g can cherry tomatoes
2 cups tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)


1. Drain the beans, then place them in a large saucepan of water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until the beans are tender and cooked through.

2. Turn the slow cooker to high. Drain the beans, then tip them into the slow cooker.

3. Put the ham hock into the saucepan, cover with water, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the ham hock and place it on top of the beans in the slow cooker.

4. Add the onion, carrot, thyme, tomatoes and passata. Pour in 1 cup of water, or enough just to cover the beans and hock. Gently stir in the vinegar, sugar, mustard and pomegranate molasses, if using. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours (or for up to 7 hours if that suits you – perhaps add a little more liquid towards the end as those beans can get thirsty!).

5. Remove the hock and shred the meat from the bone, then return the meat to the beans and stir in gently.


You can use two or three 400g cans of white beans instead of dried beans. They won’t need soaking or pre-cooking – simply drain and rinse, then add to the slow cooker with the ham hock.

Serving suggestions:

  • Pile the beans on top of baked jacket potatoes and finish with a little plain yoghurt and chopped parsley.
  • Divide the beans among small ovenproof plates, make a dent in each, crack in an egg, dot with feta and parmesan cheese and parsley, then cook in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked through.
  • Thin out the beans with stock and serve as a stew or soup.
  • Use the beans as a jaffle or toasted sandwich filling.

Extracted from Around the Kitchen Table by Sophie Hansen and Annie Herron. Photography by Sophie Hansen. Murdoch Books, RRP $45.

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