What's for Dinner?
How often do you ask, or get asked, "What's for dinner?" We try to eat at home as much as possible for the sake of my budget...I have 2 teenagers that can consume enormous quantities of food!
We started having beans for dinner when we were in Kenya because they were extremely budget friendly and a great source of protein. There are many varieties of beans and ways to prepare them. Today, I am going to share one of my go-to meals and a family favorite that is super easy, economical and delicious: Black Beans with Ham Hock.
Y'all, I am seriously the worst at following recipes. I really just "wing it" on most of my meals. I might google how to substitute one item for another but most of the time, I am pretty basic on how I cook. My go-to seasonings are salt, pepper, garlic. I put them on and in everything. For Mexican flavors, I add cumin (yum!!!) and oregano. For Italian flavors I swap the cumin for basil. What I have learned is that when I use a high quality, pasture-raised meat, I don't need a lot of seasonings. Our meat products are super flavorful and shine on their own.
Before I get to the recipe, I want to tell you a bit about the ham hock. It is the "pork knuckle" or the joint that connects the foot to the leg. It is not the prettiest cut of meat but it is full of flavor. We smoke and cure our hocks and they taste just like our bone-in hams. It is a smaller cut, usually about a pound or two. Traditionally it has been used to season soups, beans and vegetables. I bet if you ask your grandmother about it, she will have many recipes to share!
On to the recipe...I use dried beans which will require soaking overnight. I know you can pressure cook them but I use a crock pot, so soaking them the night before is kinda my thing. I place 2 cups of sorted beans (check for rocks!) in my crockpot, fill it half way with water and let them soak for 12-24 hours.
The next morning, I drain the water from the beans. Put the beans back in the crock pot and add approximately 2 cups of chicken broth or water, enough to cover the beans. Chop 1 medium onion and add to the crock pot. Then add 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 small can of diced chiles, or you can add 1 1/2 cups of salsa. Next add the spices: garlic powder, cumin, black pepper and oregano (I usually wait to salt the beans until the end because the hock has salt in it). Place the ham hock on top and close the lid. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. The hock will fall apart and add a wonderful flavor to your beans.
We usually serve the beans with a Mexican style rice, guacamole and chips the first night. The leftovers are used for quesadillas, breakfast tacos, refried beans or soup.
You can order our ham hocks here on our website www.shambacreekfarm.com/shop . We look forward to meeting you soon!
Black Beans with Ham Hock
2 cups dry black beans
1 Shamba Creek Farm Ham Hock
2 cups chicken broth or water -just enough to cover beans
1 medium onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chilis
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
black pepper & salt to taste
Soak beans overnight in water. Next day, drain beans. Place all ingredients in crock pot with ham hock on top. Close lid, cook 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. Enjoy!