Smoked ham hock, black beans and black garlic

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February 22, 2016

This is like a cross between Cuban beans and an American dish called Hoppin John both of which are from southern America. Ham hocks are available at most butchers and are very cheap to, giving you lots of meat and some very tasty instant stock whilst cooking the hock. Try and source a smoked hock as it will really make the difference here complimenting the sweet black garlic however feel free to use a regular one. Anyone adverse to garlic and thinks 10 cloves is too much then think again as black garlic is nothing like the raw pungent garlic you may fear, it has a sweet almost balsamic taste that would disperse of any fear you my have.


Firstly, cook your ham hock, you can of course buy a ready cooked one but if you cook your own you have the added bonus of some lovely ham stock

Soak the hock in water 3-4 times for 24 hours prior to cooking to reduce the amount of salt

Simply put the ham in a slow cooker, cover with boiling water and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Alternatively place in a very low oven overnight

Once cooked, remove the ham and set aside. Strain the stock and keep it to use in some soup or other ham based dishes. Once the ham has cooled, pull it apart and keep all the lean meat ready for the dish throwing away the fatty parts. You can if you wish use the bone again for some bone broth if you are feeling really frugal

Cook the beans according to their packet instructions and set aside to cool. If using a tin of beans then just drain them and set aside

Fry the onion and the red pepper in some oil until tender and they are just starting to brown, approx. 10 mins

Add all the spices/herbs and stir through for 1-2 mins

Add the sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan and add a little piquancy to the dish

Stir in the sundried tomato paste, stir through and cook for just 2-3 mins

Add the chopped tomatoes and the water and simmer for 5-10 mins until you have a thickish sauce

Season with salt and pepper but go easy on the salt as the ham may still be salty

Add the beans and approx. 200g of ham meat depending how big your hock was. Save any leftover meat to use in soup or another dish

Serve with rice and a generous sprinkle of chopped coriander, we used a mix of black rice and wild rice which went really well as they are both quite nutty in texture and flavour


1 smoked ham hock

200g dried black beans or feel free to use a tin drained

Olive oil

1 red onion finely chopped

1 red chopped into small squares

1 tbsp chopped thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

10 cloves of black garlic chopped (use scissors as they can be sticky)

1 tbsp sundried tomato paste

1 tin chopped tomatoes

150ml water/half fill the tomato can and swirl round

Salt and pepper

Chopped coriander to serve


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