A few weeks ago at Green City, I picked up a pound of super fresh black beans, bell peppers, garlic and a smoked ham hock. Then I pulled out my trusty The New Best Recipe Book to find a good way to cook them up. This did take the better half of a Saturday afternoon but it smelled awesome the entire time. The pot made enough for 2 weekend meals, a few packed lunches and a big portion sitting in the freezer for a quick weekday meal.
Black Beans serve with white rice
From: The Best New Recipe Book, Page 232
12 cups water
1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) dried black beans; picked over and rinsed
1 smocked ham hock (about 2/3 pound-mine was almost twice as big)
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
1 jalapeno (my addition)
1 medium onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 medium onion, minced
1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
8 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used an mix from Spice House that contained oregano)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 round cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the beans: Bring all the beans ingredients to a boil over a medium-high heat in a large pot (this would be a great place to use a Dutch Oven but sadly I don’t have one…yet.) Skim the surface as the scum rises. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered for about 2 hours. Add more water if it is getting low and taste the beans to make sure they are getting tender but not splitting. Remove the ham hock. When cool enough to handle, remove the ham from the bone, discard the bone and skin, and cut the meat into bite-size pieces; set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
For the sofrito: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, and salt; saute until the vegs soften, 8 to 10 mins. Add the cumin; saute until fragrant, about 1 more min.
To finish: Scoop 1 cup of the beans and 2 cups of the cooking liquid into the pan with the sofrito; mash the beans with a potato masher until smooth. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is reduced and thickened, about 6 mins. Return the sofrito mixture with the meat from the ham hock to the bean pot; simmer until the beans are creamy and the liquid thickens, 15-20mins. Stir in the cilantro and salt/pepper to taste. Serve hot over rice.