The traditional southern beans and pork is prepared with kidney beans. I’m a big fan of beans (any kind of beans, especially kidney beans). We consumed quite a fair bit of kidney beans growing up. My mom often prepared it as soup dish. In this recipe, I mixed in other type of beans such as northern beans and lentils. You can include other type of beans as you like.
Southern beans and pork is also a pretty economical one-pot dish to prepare that if you have leftover, they can keep for few days in the refrigerator. The flavor gets even more robust as you keep them longer. I like one-pot dish like this: Packed with flavor, satisfying and doesn’t break your bank account for sure. It’s always a comfort dish to me.
SOUTHERN BEANS AND PORK
- 1 ¼ cups dry kidney beans (or any kind of beans you like)
- ½ head of garlic
- About 2 lbs of smoked ham hock
- 2 celery stalks , trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1 large onion , peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- ½ Tbsp dried oregano
- ½ Tbsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ Tbsp ground black pepper
- 14- oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Apple cider vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- It's best using dried kidney beans here or other type of beans, but if you plan on using canned beans, don't add them until the ham hock is cooked and remember to drain them first. Soak the dried beans overnight in cold water. The next day, drain them and put them into a large saucepan covered with at least 1 quart of fresh cold water
- Halve your head of garlic across the middle so you cut across all the cloves, then add it to the beans and water along with the ham hock, chopped vegetables, herbs, spices, and canned tomatoes. Bring everything to a boil and cook briskly for 5 minutes, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for around 2 hours with the lid on. If you try to rush cooking dried beans like this, they'll split. The exact cooking time depends on the size of your beans, and how long they've been dried for, so check on them every so often, and when you're happy that they're tender and creamy on the inside, they're ready. At this poing your meat should be nice and soft and falling away from the bone
- Remove the ham hock, garlic, and any sprigs of herbs from the pan. Discard the herbs and put the garlic aside. Pull the rind from the ham and throw it away, then shred the meat from the hock with a fork, discarding the bones. Pile the meat onto a plate or board
- Spoon about a quarter of the beans and veggies into a bowl and squeeze in the pulp from the cooked garlic head, discarding the skin. Use a potato masher to mash the garlic into the beans and veggies until you get a nice creamy consistency. Stir these mashed beans and veggies back through the stew, along with all the shredded meat. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and a small swig of apple cider vinegar. You can drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil here if you like. Serve with rice and tuck in!!