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During the holidays, we served a couple of glazed and smoked hams. After carving the ham, I wrap up the ham hocks and put them in the freezer. Once I have saved four hocks, it’s time to make a favorite mid-western dish, ham hocks and beans. This hearty meal, served with honey cornbread, it just the thing on a cold winter’s day. It’s a little labor intensive, but well worth the effort.
In a large cast iron stockpot, bring olive oil up to a medium-high heat. Score the ham hocks and sauté them along with onion, celery, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme and bay leaves for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté one minute more. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.
Carefully stir in the pre-soaked beans so as to not break the skin. Simmer for one hour more until the ham hocks are tender and beans are cooked.
Add salt and simmer 30 minutes more or until the meat on the ham hocks falls apart.
Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and green onion, and warm corn bread. Enjoy, JW.
Capt. John Wampler has worked on yachts for more than 25 years. Contact him through www.yachtaide.com.