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specific recipe question about beans

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I have been craving some beans with ham hocks...however I have never made beans before!! After searching recipes online I came across this Emeril recipe, that had a lot of rave reviews. However, he does not say to soak the beans, and i find that odd. Any thoughts?
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

also, I will likely not follow a recipe completely, just searching some to try and understand the process...

Thanks in advance!

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  1. If I remember correctly, navy beans cook up quickly. Still to be sure the beans got soft, I'd soak them overnight. When I cook any dried bean I soak them all day and then rinse well in cold water and soak all night as well. I remember my mom cooking beans and ham hocks when I was a kid. She soak her beans and then tossed them in the pot with the ham hock and water to cover. Still a delicious and simple meal. Also good when you use smoke turkey legs and lots of times I find these on sale,

    1. They will cook more quickly and evenly if you soak them.

      1. Ham Hock and Beans
        2 tablespoons vegetable oil
        4 smoked ham hocks
        2 cups chopped onions
        1 pound dried great northern white beans
        black pepper
        2 bay leaves
        6 cups water
        Salt
        Either presoak the beans for 24 hours in a covered pan or put the beans in water and boil for two minutes then take the pan off the heat and cover for 2 hours.
        In a Dutch oven with a lid, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, sweat the onions. Season with pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
        Stir in the beans and bay leaves. Season with pepper. Saute for 1 minute. Add the ham hocks and water.
        Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat falls of the bone and the beans are creamy. Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
        Notes and Variations:
        This is good with bread and butter but it is great with corn bread. Jiffy muffin mix is good homemade even better.
        Half chicken stock half water makes it even richer.
        You could have the butcher cut the hocks and then make a stock with them and use that instead of water.
        You can use any kind of bean you like. Lots of Texans would never dream of using anything but pinto beans. I have even heard of people using lima beans. I suspect these people need help, but whatever floats your boat.
        You could use any kind of sausage you like instead of ham hocks.
        You could use one of those ham steaks you can buy at the store and cut it up.
        You could be a real poor person and use the left over bone and scraps of ham after several meals eating the rest of the ham.
        Add some carrots for color.
        With more ham or ham hocks, you could use more water.. up to about 10 cups

        1. If you don't soak beans they will tend to burst when cooking. This is not necessarily a bad thing since you end up with very creamy busted up beans (which is what the photo in the Emeril recipe link shows). But if you want lots of whole beans you need to soak them. It's a matter of taste. Some New Orleans red beans recipes say soak the beans, cook them til tender, and then mash them up a bit or puree half the batch in a blender. Same result, more or less, as cooking without soaking.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Zeldog

            I like to soak beans but sometimes I don't and I have never exoerienced them splitting. They just cook a little faster if soaked.

          2. Ok...so I opted not to soak the beans, been on the stove now a little over an hour..used 15 bean mix, chix stock and water, onions garlic and 3 smoked hocks, a little thyme and Bay. Now, I know it is early on, but the beans are definitely starting to soften, but the broth is completely void of flavor. Now I am worried. I have a few extra hocks...should I add them to the pot? am I just being impatient and the flavor will come? and how long should I cook? the recipe I kinda followed suggests only 2 hours, but with the lack of flavor that is starting to concern me. HELP!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodieop

              I doubt adding more hocks will help. When I do similar recipes, usually add carrot and celery for additional flavor. Also I find that similar dishes are usually better the second day, after having a chance to "marry." But I'm no professional...just a guy who likes to cook.

            2. I ended up added a little bit of better than bouillon ham base and a few dashes of liquid smoke, and it is awesome.