I know, I know Sir Mix A Lot said “red beans and rice didn’t miss her” but I made black beans so I had to improvise… However, red beans would be pretty darn good in this too. I have had this craving for beans and rice since last weekend’s visit to the Brazilian steakhouse. Seriously, I could have just eaten bowls and bowls of the stuff if it weren’t for that succulent meat they kept bringing around.
Saturday I went to the butcher near my home that has the absolute best ham hocks ever. It’s safe to say that I always have a few in my freezer, and when I run out I promptly run to get more. I love them because not only do they taste out of this world delicious but they are so meaty. A lot of the smoked ham hocks you get in regular grocery stores are so fatty and have all skin and no meat.
Not only was this meal delicious, it was actually quite inexpensive to make, maybe a little over $10, and to top it off it was very simple.
I used my pressure cooker for the beans, but you could most definitely do them in a normal pot, it would just take more time. You could also substitute any bean you preferred if black isn’t your first choice or you don’t have.
The rice, well you could always just use plain steamed rice and it would be really good since the broth of the beans is beyond fantastic. But since I was trying to copy the beans I had at the restaurant I added extra ingredients, mainly, butter! Everything’s better with butter!!!
For the Beans:
1 smoked ham hock (if you are using the really fatty no meat kind then you will want to use more if you want the meat in your beans)
2 large onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 celery ribs, chopped small
2 large carrots, chopped small
1/2 c. red pepper, chopped small
2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. ground fennel seed
4 cups chicken stock
enough water to cover the ham hocks
2 c. dried black beans (or whatever beans you are using)
Depending on how you plan on cooking your beans will determine if you need to soak the night before, cook for hours and hours or if you use a pressure cooker to get them started and finish in the ham hock pot. I did the pressure cooker so I’ll give the directions for that option.
In a large pot add all the ingredients, except the black beans. Cook over low heat until the smoked ham hock is really tender. Since the ham hock I used was not fatty at all I really didn’t need to de-fat the broth, but you might want to if you used a fatty one, totally up to preference. Take out the ham hock and cut the meat into bite sized pieces, return to the pot.
About 20 minutes before you are ready to take out the ham hocks to cut up you will want to prepare the beans. Rinse well and make sure you get rid of any stones or grit that might be in them. Put the two cups of clean beans into the pressure cooker with 6 cups of water. Cook for twelve minutes on the second line. I’m impatient so I push on the steam release to hurry the process of being able to get them out. Drain and add to the ham hock pot to finish cooking. They should be pretty close to being done so the additional cooking time should only be about 20 or so minutes.
Now I like my beans to have a little more liquid in them so I can pour it over the rice, but you can always use a slotted spoon when you serve to cut down on all the liquid. But don’t throw it out, it’s just too tasty to waste!
For the Rice:
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, minced
2 c. long grain rice
2 tsp. salt
3 c. chicken stock (you could always use water)
In a medium size saucepan over medium heat the oil and butter, add the onions. Sauté until they are translucent then add the rice. Let the rice cook, stirring to get every grain coated with the oil/butter. I did mine for about 3 minutes. Add the salt and stir in. Cover with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes. The liquid will be absorbed, but the rice will not be dry. Fluff it up a bit.
Now let the beans and rice meet in a bowl and enjoy!!!