Mom's Pinto Beans

I think every family has their own version of "Mom's" beans.  My husband's mother made chili beans with red kidney beans and lots of chili powder.  I love her recipe, but of course my mother's beans are what I crave.   I've always loved the smokey flavor from the ham and since it takes all day to cook, the house smells wonderful!

Mom's Pinto Beans

1 pound dry pinto beans
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cans water
1 meaty smoked ham hock
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. herbs de Provence
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried pepper flakes

1 carrot, chopped fine
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound hamburger, cooked and drained
1 small slice ham, diced

Soak beans overnight, drain and rinse.  Put beans in a slow cooker and add next 8 ingredients and set cooker to low.  Toss diced vegetables with the olive oil, roast in hot oven for 10-15 minutes until just soft.  Add to slow cooker.  About 2 hours before the beans are done add the meats.  Adjust seasoning and add water if necessary.  Just before serving, remove bay leaves and ham hock.  Shred meat from ham hock and add to pot.  This takes all day to cook and will be done by dinnertime if you start it in the morning.

You can make this on the stove top, but I like the slow cooker as it eliminates the constant stirring.