Makes 6 servings
1/2 lb dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
3 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 smoked ham hock, rinsed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lime juice
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
Optional toppings: cilantro, sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, avocado slices, green onions etc.
1. Place water, black beans, bay leaf and ham hock in slow cooker. Cover and cook until beans are tender, about 8 hours on LOW or 5 hours on HIGH.
2. Discard bay leaf. Transfer ham hock to cutting board , shred into bite size pieces and add back into slow cooker (discard the fat, bone and skin).
3. Add the oregano, cumin, garlic powder, lime juice, salt and tomato sauce to the slow cooker. Taste test and adjust seasonings accordingly.
4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with desired toppings.
I've never bought ham hocks before or used them in a recipe. I was a little grossed out when I saw the package. But after reading about how smoked ham hocks can add a nice flavor to soups I decided to give them a try. It did indeed add a nice, smoky flavor to the black beans. I wanted to add in sauteed onions, green peppers and garlic at the end when I added the spices but I was too hungry and decided it was good enough as is. If you want to bump up the flavor add in sauteed veggies at the end and I'm sure it would be awesome. Or add in freeze dried veggies from Shelf Reliance as they cook so quickly there is no need to saute. I also liked that the beans were able to cook well without any soaking the night before. This recipe has very little prep and would be good if you're in a hurry in the morning. Not to mention that it cooks for a good 8-10 hours while you're away. When I ate the leftovers the next day I topped it with diced tomatoes and avocados and it was so delicious! I love having yummy leftovers for lunch. 3 1/2 stars.
More info about hamhocks from myrecipes.com:
Ham hock is the lower hind leg of a hog, and you’ll usually find it cured, smoked, or both. Most commonly, it’s used to add smoky, salty flavor to soups and stews. In place of 1 smoked ham hock, substitute 4 ounces of any of the following: chopped salted pork (2-4 ounces of this one), chopped smoked bacon, chopped smoked ham, cured smoked hog jowl or guanciale, smoked bacon, smoked sausage, smoked turkey drumsticks, or one ham bone.