While cooking in the time of coronavirus, we prefer meals that can be repurposed into more meals—fewer trips to the grocery store will keep you and your neighbors safer. This recipe calls for a ham bone. You can get that at the store, but I recommend getting a bone-in spiral ham. (Directions for cooking the ham—warming, really, since it’s precooked— follow at the end of this recipe.) Use the spiral ham for sandwiches, mac and cheese, cheesy mashed potatoes or potatoes gratin, omelets and quiches—whatever your heart desires, until you’re left with the meaty bone (DO NOT strip it down of all its meat. Make sure it has plenty hanging on still.)

That’s when this dish enters the chat. It’s something I have made for New Year’s Day, when black-eyed peas and collard greens are harbingers of good fortune for the coming year. Aside from needing some good fortune about now, I’m guessing we could all use some warm, homey, tasty, smoky, satisfying comfort food that doesn’t require us to be world-class chefs. This one barely requires you to do anything, actually, but add it all to an instant pot. And it takes a little less than an hour, which is perfect for when you’re doing nothing all day then get hungry and realize you have need to make your own dinner. Also, you can sub in frozen veggies for any of the fresh ones listed.

You will need:

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 ham bone (with plenty of meat on it, check mine out in the photo above)
2 large carrots
1/2 large or 1 medium yellow onion
1 red pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
3 bay leaves
3-5 garlic cloves
10 peppercorns
1 bunch thyme
4 C veg stock
3 C water
1 bunch collard greens (or other leafy greens)
1-2 T salt

Rinse your beans and pick through them to remove any errant rocks that might have slipped into the bag. Add the beans to your instant pot.

Chop the carrots, onion, and red pepper to about the size of peanut M&Ms. Slice down the jalapeño and remove the white ribs and seeds, then dice it very finely (about the size of a match tip). Smash your garlic cloves with the flat side of your knife and throw out the papery skins.

Add the ham bone, bay leaves, smashed garlic cloves, peppercorns, thyme, red pepper, carrots, onion and jalapeño to the pot.

Pour vegetable stock and water into the pot; the water should cover the beans by about two inches. If it doesn’t, add a little more water.

Cut the tough ribs out of the collard greens, then roughly chop them and add to the top of the pot. Don’t stir them in, you want them to steam on top.

Close and seal the instant pot. Set your pot to cook for 25 minutes on the Chili/Stew function.

Set your timer for 40 minutes. You’re cooking for 25, but we want the pressure to release naturally on these beans. When the pressure is fully released, the float valve will drop and the lid will unlock and open (check your specific pot’s manual if you have any questions). It should take about 15-30 minutes from the end of cooking time for that to occur.

Once the pressure is released, open the pot. Take the ham hock out with some tongs or a big spoon, and pull the meat off of the bone. Roughly chop or shred the ham and add it back into the pot. (Give the empty bone to your dog!)

Try a spoonful, and add salt now if necessary. Some ham hocks and veggie broths can be so salty that you don’t need any extra seasoning, so it’s best to wait ‘til the end to add your salt.

This freezes well in containers, and keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days. Some people think it is actually best the next day, when the flavors are fully melded and the beans are thicker.

Stay home and stay comfy!

Spiral Ham Bonus Recipe

1 spiral ham (6-9 pounds)
2 C water
Glaze packet OR Killer Maple Glaze

Killer Maple Glaze:
½ C pure maple syrup
½ C brown sugar
2 T Dijon, stone ground, or seedy mustard
½ t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325F.

While the oven heats, set a roasting rack (or a cooling rack, which is what I use) in a roasting pan. Remove the wrapper (and glaze packet) from packaging and wrap the ham in aluminum foil, cut side of the ham facing down. Close the foil at the top so you can open it later. Pour the water in the bottom of the pan and set the ham on the rack. Roast the ham for about 10 minutes per pound (roughly 1 to 1 ½ hours).

You CAN use the glaze packet that comes with the ham, I will not judge. If you’d like to make your own glaze, add the remaining ingredients to a small pot and heat until bubbly.

At the end of your roasting period, take the ham out of the oven and increase the oven temp to 400F. Open the foil packet and pour the glaze over the top of the ham, wiggling the slices and working the sauce into them. Don’t seal the ham back up, just let it sit in the foil glaze bath. I usually try to get most of the glaze that’s run down the ham back up onto the sides with a brush. Put the ham back in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are starting to caramelize. Let sit for 10 minutes before pouncing on it.

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