Black Bean Soup with Ham Hock Dumplings

  • Rating ****

10 Servings

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.

RecID 9962

Sign Up for Newsletters Here

Delicious recipes, easy meal ideas and holiday inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.