Serious Eats: Talk
White Beans with Ham Hocks - RECIPE
I've never seen anyone else serve this "Old Family Favorite" quite this way, so I'm dropping it off for your consideration. I usually use Small White Beans, but ANY White Bean will do. Use what you have! I use a Pressure Cooker, but an ordinary, stove-top pot is perfectly fine. (I do not recommend a Slow Cooker for beans.) At least 8 hours (24 is better) peel, dice one White Onion and marinate in White Vinegar. Ham hocks (Or shanks) vary a lot. When I can get them, I prefer using meaty shanks and asking the butcher to saw them into 3/4" to 1" slices, across the bone, If that is not possible, I use smaller, whole hocks and in both cases, slash through the skin/rind in several spots. I precook the meat (under pressure) for at least 10 minutes, then use the Natural Release method. IMO it helps to extract more flavor from the bones, meat and connective tissue, but it is not absolutely essential. Reserve the cooking liquid and cut meat from the bones in large chunks.
Cooking times will vary slightly; please remember that this dish is supposed to be fully-cooked, tender *whole* beans, not bean soup. The marinated diced onion (with a slotted spoon) and ketchup, if desired, are passed at table as condiments. I prefer onions alone, but many folks like a dollop of the red stuff as well. I usually serve these beans accompanied by a green salad and/or plain biscuits - or not. Any leftovers reheat well in a microwave, but freezing is not recommended. As with any bean dish, I do not add salt during cooking. I find the Bay Leaf essential and the smashed garlic is optional. Additional notes in the recipe section. Enjoy! -GC