I’ve made it no secret that it’s FLIPPING cold here in Texas and I’m not sure I’m dealing with it well. Five days of dark clouds and freezing blankets of ice with only my sanity and a five year old to keep me company was making me a little twitchy. Just before I lost myself to the gaping abyss that my couch was turning into, the sun came out and I feel like myself again! Thank goodness, because I was starting to not want to change out of my pj’s and watch The Kardashians. If that ever happens, please send help and check me into an institution becasue I’ve hit rock bottom.
Not only did I need comfort food to get me out of my funk but I needed flavor that wasn’t going to make me feel heavy afterwards. Here’s a simple dinner that warms my heart up and is light on the calories. I use ham hock a lot in soups because it brings so much flavor without a lot of oil or fat. Never cooked with ham hock before? Give it a try and you’ll be amazed. You can find smoked ham hock in the butcher section of any major grocery store.
Nothing says soul lifting like ham hock to a southern girl! White beans slowly simmered in homemade stock, ham hock, and fresh herbs is simply delicious and gratifying on a cold night.
1 pound dried Great Northern Beans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
7 cups homemade or quality low-sodium chicken or turkey stock
1 smoked ham hock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Rinse and sort beans to remove any debris. Soak beans in a large pot of cold water overnight. You can also do a quick soak instead of the overnight soak. To quick soak beans, Place rinsed and sorted beans in a large pot or dutch oven. Cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat; once boiling turn off heat and cover. Let sit for 1 hour.
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt; saute until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Strain the water from the soaked beans.
To the onions add stock, ham hock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes then add beans and continue to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours uncovered until the beans are tender. 5 minutes before the beans are finished, add the oregano and parsley and stir. Remove the ham off of the ham hock, chop, and return to the soup, if desired. Taste and add any additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm.