I adapted this recipe from Ann Rogers' A Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others. I throw in dark, spiced rum at the end, but use what you have. Top individual bowls with torn parsley leaves and, in Rogers’ words, “gobs of sour cream.” Serve with baguette and butter if you swing that way (I do).
Make this vegetarian by replacing the hock with a knob of butter or good splash of oil and dried chipotle peppers or a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Leftovers make a pleasant burrito filling or platform for fried eggs. —Kate K
ham hock OR a knob of butter/spash of oil and 2 dried chipotle peppers or 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt, plus more to taste
adventurous splash of of hot sauce
Parsley leaves, torn
Throw the beans, onion, celery, hock (or butter plus smoky peppers), thyme, and salt in either a heavy, lidded pot or a pressure cooker. Add enough water or bean-soaking liquid to barely submerge the beans.
Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 2 hours on the stove until the beans are tender and the broth flavorful (You can certainly simmer longer, if you like and can wait). If pressure cooking, cook for forty minutes at pressure and, if you have time, let the pressure release naturally.
Carefully remove the hock, if using. (If it has a lot of meat on it, let cool a little before picking it. Reserve meat for another use or add it right back to the beans.)
Stir in the hot sauce, rum, and extra salt to your taste.
Ladle into bowls and have each person top with sour cream and parsley as desired.