This is the kind of soup/stew that puts a fire in your belly. Not the kind that has you reaching for the Tums, but the kind that warms from your belly to your toes. The kind that makes me want to sit back, sigh with contentment, and get out a good book. Or, more realistically, gives me the energy to chase around two toddlers.
Wishing you warmth and a full belly!
Ham Hocks and Beans
- 1 lb pinto beans, rinsed well and picked over
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used red)
- 2 jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Chicken stock (or water)
- 3 smoked ham hocks
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place rinsed beans in a large bowl or pot and fill with water until it’s about 1 inch above the beans. Let sit at least overnight.
- The next day, drain the beans and set aside.
- Add oil, onion, celery, and peppers to a large pot and cook, stirring often, until veggies are translucent (about 5 mins). Add cumin, baking soda, and enough chicken stock to cover the beans by about an inch. Nestle in the ham hocks, and bring to a low simmer.
- Cook low and slow, stirring every so often, until beans are soft. This will take a couple of hours, so add chicken stock as needed.
- Once beans are soft, discard jalapeños, and set ham hocks to the side to cool. Stir in tomatoes and shredded carrot.
- Once cool enough to handle, remove meat from the ham hocks and return the meat to the pot. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until the carrot is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Enjoy with a glass of wine and a good crusty bread. Cheers!