One of my favorite things about getting a Petit Jean ham is having the ham bone left at the end to make a pot of beans.

Cooking beans is super simple, and though it takes a few hours most of the time you don’t have to pay any attention to them. The ham bone adds a lot of flavor and gets another use out of that part that you would otherwise throw away.

INGREDIENTS - 12 servings

  • Bell pepper
  • Half a large onion
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Epazote or oregano (optional)
  • Petit Jean ham bone
  • 1 pound uncooked red beans
  • Water to cover
  • Salt
  • Cooked rice
  • Green onions or parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat a stock pot (I use the same pot I cook pasta in) on medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pot with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Dice the bell pepper and onion. Add to the pan and begin to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  3. As the vegetables cook, add 2 bay leaves, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Do not add salt at this point; it will make the beans take longer to cook. I also use about 2 teaspoons of epazote, a Mexican herb that reputedly makes beans easier to digest. This is optional, or you can substitute oregano for a similar flavor, if you like.
  4. While the veggies cook, add the beans to a colander and pick through them, discarding any broken or discolored beans and anything that isn’t a bean. Rinse well and allow to drain.
  5. Once the vegetables get a little brown, add the beans to the pot. Stir, then add the ham bone.
  6. Cover with water. Mine took about 10 cups, but it will vary depending on the size of your pot and your bone.
  7. Allow to come up to a boil, then turn down to medium-low heat, put the lid on the pot slightly tilted so steam can escape and allow to simmer for about two hours. Check for doneness and give them a stir every half hour or so after the first hour.
  8. Beans are done when they start to break open and are soft to chew.
  9. Remove the bone from the pot. If there was enough meat left on it to salvage, let the bone cool and pull the meat off the bone. Chop the meat up and add back to the pot or leave on the side so people can take meat if they want it.
  10. Taste the beans and add salt and other seasonings as desired. I don’t make mine very spicy because I have a five-year-old, so there’s always some Crystal on the side for those who want it.
  11. Serve over cooked rice with chopped green onions or parsley on top, if desired.
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