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Topic: Southern Style Soup Beans with ham hocks  (Read 4205 times)
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« on: February 12, 2011 02:30:22 AM »

When it’s cold outside, I’m sick or just feeling blue, I turn to comfort foods to help lift my spirits. This is a dish that I grew up eating and swore once I left home to start my own life that I’d never eat again. Well, as I get older, I now crave this and make it about once a month. My mother finds this fact hilarious!

Originally, I learned how to make soup beans from my granma who was a true southern cook with her butter, lard and iron skillets. I’ve taken the liberty of changing it just a bit to make it better fit my busy life style.

½ pound dried pinto beans
1 package smoked ham hocks
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
Salt to taste

This recipe serves 4!

Step 1
Pre soak the beans by sorting them (i.e. picking out the off color beans or the occasional stone that slips in) and placing them in a large pot. Add water until the beans are covered by at least 2 inches. Bring to a full boil. Turn off the heat. Cover and allow the beans to soak for one hour.

Now my granma always preferred the overnight soak but for me, I can never remember to do so the night before. She also claimed that the beans taste better this way than with the quick soak but I respectfully disagree.

Step 2
Dice the onion and mince the garlic adding it to your crock pot. Size of dice does not matter but I dice finely so that my kids are less likely to notice them in their dish. Wink

Step 3
Add 2-3 ham hocks to the crock pot.
About ham hocks, these are a southern specialty and show up in lots of recipes. They are the portion of the pig’s leg between its foot and the meatier shank (i.e. shin).  This part is quite often brined and then smoked. You can find ham hocks in the fresh meats section of your grocery store usually with the hams.

Don’t want to use ham hocks?
You can substitute a ham bone (frozen or thawed) left over from a holiday celebration or even just diced smoked ham with no bone at all. Either way, this is a great use of leftovers!

Step 4
Pour soak water off of the beans. Add beans to the crock pot.  Cover beans and ham hocks with water, normally about 8 cups.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or 4-6 on high.  An hour before serving, taste and add salt. Adding salt any earlier could result in an inedible dish because the full flavor from the hocks has not been released!

Remove ham hocks before serving. If you are so inclined, you can remove the bits of ham from the hocks to add back to the beans but be forewarned! This is not for the squeamish! Wink

Serve with corn bread or over rice.

I have known people to add diced tomatoes and even small amounts of chopped jalapenos to this dish so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Also, some people add 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda to help cut down on the beans’ “gassy” after effects.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011 03:49:42 AM by Troublet » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2011 03:27:06 AM »


If we weren't all crazy we would go insane.
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011 07:59:33 AM »

I smiled when I read the title of your post because I knew exactly what I was going to find!  In my experience, not a lot of people I've met know what soup beans are...I don't live in the South, but my mom's family came from the Appalachian region of Kentucky.  My grandma made soup beans with salt pork and I've changed it even more...I'm a vegetarian so I use soy bacon and a little liquid smoke! My mom laughs at me and says my ancestors are probably rolling in their graves every time I make it.  I say "eh, they ought to just be glad I'm keeping the tradition in my own way!"  But, I do make my corn bread in a third generation cast iron skillet, so I figure either way, I'm still ok!  Wink
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011 01:52:14 AM »

oh my, I love pinto beans and cornbread! My great grandfather brought all of us grand youngins up on them! My favorite way is just like you show in the picture, with onions. Sometimes my family cooks greens (collard or turnip, or both) with them too, and that's really yummy as well!
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011 02:16:37 AM »

Mmm, turnip greens...

I grew up eating those with corn bread, fried potatoes, and (of all things) boiled eggs. Yum!
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011 01:53:43 PM »

Great idea, thank you Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2011 02:49:35 PM »

It's so perfect that you posted this- I was just searching for a crockpot bean recipe and here it is! I should've known to come here first- I always find what I need from my fellow Crafsters!!  Grin This sounds delicious, can't wait to finally use that bag of dried beans in my pantry. Thank you!

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