Ham hock and beans is a dish popular most in the south, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't indulge yourself here at home. If you've never brought ham and beans together for one meal, you're in for a tasty surprise. This simple dish is easy to make and now you can finally bring the southern delicacies to your dinner table.
The first thing you'll need before you get cooking is to find yourself some good ham hock. Ham hock comes from the calf or lower region of the pig. They're tender and don't really contain a lot of fat or a lot of meat. This is why when people cook with ham hock they usually use it to flavor soups and stews or put them in a side dish like ham hock and beans. Ham hock can be picked up from your local butcher and will look like the knuckle of a pig.
The type of beans you use are interchangeable and depend on which ones you admire more. Though, navy, pinto, and lima beans are the ones most often used for their texture, flavor, and pairing ability with ham.
You may not need very many ingredients or much cookware for this dish, but you will need some time. This meal is traditionally prepared in a dutch oven so if you're looking to serve this for dinner prepare to put at least three hours aside while it boils.
Some recipes call for cooking the ham hocks ahead of time to savor the smokiness. You can use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and add it to the water in your dutch oven over medium heat. As soon as the oil is hot, you can sear the hocks for about 5 minutes and then set them aside. You'll then add the onions, bay leaf, and beans to saute for about 2-3 minutes. Then you bring in the ham hocks.
Some chefs also like to use 5-6 minced cloves of garlic or a teaspoon of oregano for added flavor. As previously stated, you can also use different beans to better suit your tastes.
Feel free to shake things up with different seasoning, another type of bean, and variations of the required measurements. This is the recipe we like to turn back to, but it's all about living life to your tastes!