Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ham Hock and Beans

When we first got married my darling husband would sing the praises of ham hock and beans. I had my doubts, seriously what is so great about some beans and pieces of ham. Some years later he asked his Mom after a holiday dinner if he could have the bone, so he could make this wonderful dish for me. Now, you know how I feel about my husband's cooking, but this dish...sorry babe! He kept insisting though that it really is good and he must have done something wrong. I relented and encouraged him to try, try again. This past winter he went to the Polish deli and purchased a ham hock just for this dish. He came home quite excited about this creation he was going to make me. I of course, had my doubts after the last time. As he was preparing this dish something certainly seemed different. The aroma that filled the house was wonderful a smoky kind of scent. I actually was kind of interested in trying this creation. I certainly am glad I did. The beans are so creamy and the onion just melts into the dish, the ham pieces add just the right amount of smoky flavor.
We had a little "Easter" dinner just the four of us on Saturday. I made it a point to request that Brian make us this dish for us this week, and he was more than happy to. Unfortunately his schedule did not lend itself to making dinner tonight, so I thought I would give it a shot. Wow, talk about cheap, easy, and delicious. The next time you make a ham, I strongly suggest you save the bone and make this dish. It's a great way to get another meal out of your ham, besides the usual leftovers. Not to mention that it is very inexpensive.

Ham Hock and Beans
lightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse
1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 large ham hock
1 large onion
1 pound dried northern beans
fresh ground pepper
1-2 bay leaves
10 cups of water
Salt to taste
The night before fill a large stock pot with water and add the beans soak overnight and drain before using. The original recipe does not mention soaking the beans, but I'm not sure if it would work without soaking.
In a medium dutch oven add the oil and heat over medium heat. Once it is hot sear the ham hock on all sides about 6-8 minutes. Remove the ham hock to a plate and set aside. Add the onions season with pepper and saute for about two minutes. Add the beans and bay leaves, add a bit more pepper and saute for another minute. Add the ham hock and the water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for two hours. I increased the heat to medium/ medium high for about the last 45 minutes. The meat should be falling off the bone and the beans should be creamy. Remove the bay leaves and season.

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