How Ham Hocks Changed My Life

Today I tackled something so simple yet so elusive. I’ve cooked black beans before, but they never turned out the way I wanted. Essentially they were never as flavorful as what I could find at my local Chili’s.

But today that all changed. In my most recent order from my meat supplier, I acquired a ham hock with beans in mind. I soaked my entire pound of black beans (which TRIPLED in volume I might add!) overnight. Then the next morning I dumped the old water, put the beans in a crockpot with a can of low sodium beef broth and two beef broth cans’ worth of clean water. Next came the pies de resistance. I threw the whole ham hock in the crockpot and cooked the whole thing on low all day while I was at work. Nope, I didn’t prepare the hock in any way. I just threw it in there. And other than adding 3 bay leaves, about a tsp of chili powder (all I had), 1/2 tsp of cumin, and about a tablespoon of brown sugar, I didn’t do ANYTHING ELSE TO IT. And when I came home after Zumba, I couldn’t stop eating it. I still haven’t stopped eating it! It’s 12:30 AM and I have a tiny dirty bowl in front of me with bean residue and a mouth full of lingering flavors of savory, meaty, earthy goodness and I’m seriously considering going back for more.

I don’t think I should ever be without a ham hock in my freezer again. Seriously. I’ll make beans a LOT more often now! Plus, at about $4 for the hock, and $1 for the bag of bean, it’s seriously economical!

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