Williams's grandmother would make a pot of beans most Mondays, and one of his favorites still is a pot of beans with ham. Here, ham hocks create a rich stock, and their smoky flavor permeates the entire dish.
2 1/4 cups dried navy beans (about 1 pound)
6 cups warm water
1 small yellow onion, peeled
3 whole cloves
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 thyme sprigs
3 parsley sprigs
3 smoked ham hocks (about 1 1/3 pounds)
1 bay leaf
3 cups chopped kale
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 1/2 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
2/3 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans; rinse and drain.
Return beans to pan; cover with 6 cups warm water. Stud whole onion with cloves; place in pan. Add celery, thyme, parsley sprigs, ham hocks, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.
Discard onion, thyme, parsley sprigs, and bay leaf. Remove ham hocks from pan; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; finely chop to yield 1/3 cup meat. Discard bones, skin, and fat. Add meat, kale, potato, chopped onion, carrot, salt, and pepper to pan; stir well. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until beans and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley.
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This recipe is a good, solid recipe. I swapped one cup of water for one cup of chicken broth and it definitely needed the extra flavor. The dish is not really a lot of work, but it does take a good amount of time between soaking the beans and boiling the ham hock. I made it on a Sunday evening, but it would not be a week night meal for us. I might make this again, but most likely not.
Have made this recipe a few times. If you don't want to fiddle with a ham hoc, you can use cubed ham from the deli and the flavor is just as good. Didn't fiddle with the cloves in the onion; still flavorful. Added an extra can of chicken broth for more liquid.
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