Smoked Ham hocks and beans are such a simple treat. The meal comes together really easily, but is layered with complex flavor from the ham hock and bean broth. We made this with Rancho Gordo Black Eyed Peas, but you can make it with any beans you have on hand. This is a nice brothy, meaty dish, and makes for a great stew on a rainy northwest day.
1 smoked ham hock
2 cups beans (more if you want lots of leftovers)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove of garlic, smashed
Soak beans overnight. You can either discard soaking water or retain it for cooking -- there is a debate in the bean world about what is best. In a heavy pot, put beans, ham hock, chopped onion, garlic, bay leaf, and cover with water (with at least 2 inches above the beans). Bring to a boil, and let boil for a few minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for a few hours, until the beans are done and the meat starts to fall from the bone. Add salt to the beans to taste, but be aware they’ll already have some salt from the hock. Remove the hock from the soup and cut the meat off the bone (it should pretty much fall off at this point), chopping the rest of the meat into small pieces. Return the chopped meat to the beans. If you have some fresh herbs or pickled onions, these would make a nice topping to the dish. Serve alongside crusty bread or over rice.