A ham-hock (aka pork knuckle) is the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot. The meat braises slowly while releasing its flavor into your dish. When the dish is done, you can pull off the bits of meat and put them back in the dish. Often the bone itself is removed before serving.
Top 3 Uses for the ham-hock
#1 Add flavor to a pot of Beans
There are several of recipes to try out all variations using different varieties of beans. We recommend this country style recipe utilizing white northern beans.
Country Style Northern beans
- 1 lb package dried northern beans
- ham bone, hocks, shanks or diced ham (about 1 pound)
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 6 cups water
- salt & pepper to taste
Be sure to rinse and sort the beans. Add the rinsed beans, onion powder, salt, pepper, and ham to the crock pot then add water. Cover and cook on low about 8 hours, until beans are tender. Remove ham bone, shanks or hocks and pull off the meat. Add meat to the crock pot and mix. Serve hot.
Serve with corn bread on the side.
#2 Enrich the flavor of soups
Soup is a versatile food that can be served any time of year. The ham hock adds a rich flavor to soups that takes a bland veggie soup to a family favorite. Some of the best soups can be taken up a notch with a deliciously smoked ham hock.
Try using a ham hock in these soups:
- Vegetable Soup
- Ham and Bean Soup
- Creamy Ham Potato and Corn Chowder
- Split Pea Soup
- Black Eyed Pea Soup
#3 Add smoked flavor to your greens
Smoked ham hocks add a new flavor element to several greens based dishes. The most common in the south is collard greens. We recommend this recipe by renowned southern chef Paula Dean http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/collard-greens-recipe.html.
Here in Kentucky an extremely popular dish is country style green beans. We utilize this recipe which is a great contribution at pot-luck dinners.
Country Style Green Beans
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 ham-hock
- 1 ½ lb new potatoes, quartered
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 T Chicken Bouillon granules (or cube)
- Black pepper to taste
I mix everything together in a crock-pot and cook 4-6 hours. This recipe can be a bit salty for some, simply adjust down the bouillon and you can always add extra potato pieces which help offset salt especially after the cooking process has begun.
Check out our Pinterest page for additional recipe inspiration
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