When I moved to New Orleans, I was introduced to and immediately fell in love with those things called ham hocks. I think you could put them in the laundry and they still would taste good! Being a huge fan of black beans and Latin American cooking, I decided to combine them for a unique flavor.
- 4 ham hocks (10 to 12 ounces each)
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 6 quarts water
- 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped canned chiles in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/4 cup beer
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Combine the ham hocks, onions, carrots, celery and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the meat starts to fall from the bones, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain the stock through a colander into a clean pot. Set the ham hocks aside.
Add the black beans, chiles, cumin and chili powder to the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a brisk simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
While the beans are cooking, remove the meat from the ham hocks and coarsely chop. Reserve 1/2 cup of the meat and add the rest to the black beans.
When the beans are nearly done, combine the 1/2 cup reserved meat with the flour, egg, beer, baking powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Mix to make a dough. To form the dumplings, drop the dough by the tablespoonful on top of the soup. You should have 10 dumplings. Cover and cook until the dumplings are set, 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, spoon 1 dumpling into each soup bowl and ladle about 1 cup of soup over it.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper 2009. All rights reserved.
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