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Red Beans & Ham Hock

Here is a dish that will warm you right to the core. Everything that you add to this disintegrates nicely into a tasty concoction that is hard to resist. I make it in the slow-cooker overnight so we can enjoy it several times the next day. 

If you find yourself in the southern USA this dish is quite popular and has endless variations on the basic theme of ham hock, sausage and red beans. If you are going for super traditional you will likely find this served under a scoop of rice and it is wonderful that way. I'm blessed that my wife makes an amazing cornbread which is my preferred vehicle for getting this to my mouth and what I have shown here. 

Gather the good stuff:

  1. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  2. 2 or so links of sausage cut into small cubes. traditionally this is made with andouille sausage but a dried chorizo works well also 
  3. 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup diced celery, 1 green pepper (I used a red one here because the green ones in the store today were terrible. Please, roast me accordingly in the comments) 
  4. 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  5. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  6. 1 ham hock - preferably smoked 
  7. 2 bay leaves
  8. 1 tsp dried thyme
  9. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  10. 4 cups chicken broth - you'll likely need to add water along the way to get to the desired consistency 
  11. 2 cups red kidney beans - soaked for at least 12 hours or more. (Do you need to soak your beans? No, but it is way better than canned) 
  12. salt to taste (but be careful, with the hock and the broth, it's quite salty to begin with) 

Putting this together 

Notes on preparation

You ca chose to do this in a heavy pot or a slow cooker. I opted for the slow cooker method but if you chose the heavy pot, increase the broth from 4-7 cups and do all the pre-work in the same pot you intend to simmer it in. Once you've added all the ingredients, simmer in the pot for 3 hours or so or until the beans are the consistency you want and the hock has completely broken apart into the dish. 

  1. Heat 1 -2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a heavy pan over medium high heat 
  2. Roughly dice pepper, celery, onions and garlic. You don't have to get these too small, they are going to nicely disintegrate into the dish as it is cooked 
  3. Cut sausage into bite size small cubes and add to the pan 
  4. Cook sausage for 3-4 minutes or until they release some of their fat and spices 
  5. Add the vegetables to the pan with the sausage and cook until softened. 6-8 minutes
  6. Meanwhile get your slow cooker out and turn to low setting 
  7. Add the garlic, thyme and cayenne to the pan with the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes
  8. Put your hock into the slow cooker with 2 bay leaves 
  9. Strain the beans from their soaking water and give them a quick rinse
  10. Add the beans into the heavy pan with the vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes until they heat up a little 
  11. add 2 cups of the broth to the heavy pan, turn up the heat and bring to simmer
  12. Pour contents of heavy pan over the hock into the slow cooker and add remaining 2 cups of stock (but monitor the amount of liquid, try to have the liquid just covering the other ingredients) 
  13. Let cook on for 8-10 hours, stirring 2-3 times 
  14. after about 8 hours, remove the hock bones and skin. Discard the bones and dice the skin finely. return to the pot for the remaining 2 hours. 
  15. At the 8 hour mark and when the hock bones / skin are out - grab a potato masher (or your wooden spoon) and gentle mash some of the beans down into the pot 
  16. Serve this over rice (or under if you're going really traditional) and with a dash of your favourite hot sauce 


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