Easy Beans with Ham Hocks
Straight from my no-fuss kitchen, I'm bringing you a simple recipe using the affordable and under appreciated Smoked & Cured Ham Hocks. Read to the end to hear some ideas on how to use this versatile dish. This recipe works best split into two days. While it's not a speedy meal, it is a hands-off recipe you can set and forget.
Cook the dry beans
Let your pressure cooker do the work for you here.
1 lb Dry Pinto Beans (half the bag shown)
6 c water
1/2 T Salt
Cook on manual high pressure for 30 min with natural release (30-45 min).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a plastic storage container & store in fridge until ready to use. Store the cooking liquid separately to make the next step easier - don't throw it out!.
Add the Ham Hocks
The slow cooker is my favorite to finish the dish. To it add:
Cooked Beans (~4-5 c cooked beans).
1.5 c bean cooking liquid
1 c stock, broth (any variety) or water
1/2 t garlic powder
Bay Leaf (optional)
Mix in the slow cooker. Then add the package of Smoked & Cured Ham Hocks. Nestle them down into the beans and liquid to be completely submerged.
Cook on low 4-6 hours.
Shred the meat & adjust seasoning
Using a slotted spoon, remove the ham hocks and meat to a small plate. Pull out the bones and any skin and connective tissue and remove to a separate plate. Use a fork to shred up the meat. Then add it back into the beans, stirring to combine. Add more salt here as needed.
Ways to customize
- Add peeled and diced potatoes with more stock to create a soup
- Add chopped onion, peppers or jalapenos.
- Do not add ham back in. Keep beans separate to use in a burrito bowl. Refrigerate ham and use for chef salad.
- Add bottled BBQ sauce
- Add browned ground beef, pork sausage or chorizo to make it a hearty main dish
- Try it all in the pressure cooker! Add in the ham hocks and garlic powder directly to the pressure cooker. I might give this a go next time :)
- Skip the dry beans and use canned beans directly in the slow cooker. You could choose to use the liquid in the can or go with all stock or broth, just try to get between 2-3 cups of liquid.
- Serve as a simple main dish alongside a hearty chef salad and crusty bread
- As a side dish to complement a something from the grill
- Freeze in quart freezer storage bags.
- Take it to a potluck