Intro: Dutch Oven Ham Hock and White Bean Soup
After you eat that delicious spiral cut ham, don't throw the bone away! Make a great tasting soup! Cooking this in the dutch oven adds a little challenge, but you can easily simmer this on a stove as well.
Step 1: You Will Need
To cook in a Dutch oven, some basic tools are needed:
12" Dutch oven (this size is the most versatile)
Cooking platform (this can be as simple as a sheet of aluminum foil or as fancy as you want. I use the Volcano cooker model I.)
Heat resistant gloves
Flat edged wooden spoon
Some nice extras:
Charcoal chimney - load the coals in here and it will start them faster.
Trivet/Lid Stand - This keeps the lid off the ground when cooking outside, and the hot pan off your formica countertops and table. (Melted table = bad)
For this recipe, we will also need:
1 ham hock (this is the bone left from a spiral ham or ham roast)
2 cups dry white beans
1/2 cup dry split peas
1/2 cup celery
1 cup ham, cubed
5 chicken bullion cubes (optional)
96 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Step 2: The Night Before: Soak the Beans
Soak the beans the night before to ensure they cook properly. Put the beans into a glass bowl and rummage through them and remove any rocks or gross looking beans. Cover them with 3 times their volume of water. (This is not the 96 ounces from step 1.)
Soaking the beans makes them soft. Don't use the water they were soaked in for anything; this is pure undiluted fart juice. Just toss it out and rinse them good the next day. Make sure the beans soak for a good 12 hours.
Step 3: Putting It All Together
Light the charcoal. To light charcoal, either fill a chimney half full and soak them in lighter fluid, dropping in a lit match, or build a small pyramid out of charcoal, soak them in lighter fluid and light the edges, ensuring all sides light. Put the ham hock, beans, peas, ham, celery, water, and spices in the 12" Dutch oven.
After the charcoal is lit, put approximately 9 on the bottom and 12 on the top of the oven. Simmer for 90 to 120 minutes, checking every 20 minutes. You may need to replenish the charcoal, so keep a side fire going.
You want it to simmer, so keep adding heat the whole time.
Step 4: Remove the Bone & Enjoy!
When the beans are tender, remove the bone and cut off any bits that haven't fallen off. Try not to get too much fat into the pot. Toss the bone in to the trash, or give it to a lucky dog.
Serve it up hot with warm bread. If you have leftovers, you can freeze them for later. Just make sure there is enough head space in the jars, and I prefer to use plastic containers in the freezer.