Contributed by Jennifer Hill Booker
Pinto Beans & Ham Hocks
- Place the beans in a bowl or stockpot with enough water to cover, and soak overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, drain the beans, rinse and discard any misshapen or discolored beans, and then put them in a stockpot with 12 cups cold water.
- Add the ham hock, onion, garlic, and chili peppers. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the beans are tender and the ham falls from the bone. For a thicker and richer broth, you may choose to simmer on low heat for 6 hours.
- You may remove and discard the bone, or leave it in the beans for added flavor. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Garnish with chopped fresh spring onions.
Note from the author:
The longer you cook your pinto beans, the thicker the sauce or “gravy” will become. I find it best to cook them a day or two before you plan to serve them, and refrigerate until you are ready to reheat and serve. This guarantees a thick, rich pot of beans.
From Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, photography by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn (Pelican Publishing, 2014).
Chef Jennifer Hill Booker is a Le Cordon Bleu-certified chef, cookbook author, reality TV personality, culinary educator, business owner and GA Grown Executive Chef for the GA Department of Tourism and Travel. She weaves her love of traditional Southern cuisine with her belief in incorporating healthy, seasonal foods and her classic French training.