Big Ole Pot o’ Beans

white bowl of black beans and chicken on a table

I love having a huge pot of beans simmering away on top of the stove.  A ham hock is essential, in my opinion, to round out the flavors and provide a deep smokey aroma and taste.  I have a hard time finding ham hocks in the local grocery store but am always successful at our farmer’s market.  The one I used in this recipe was as big as my head!  Seer it off first to create great fond in the bottom of your pot (fond equals flavor – those little brown bits that start to collect as you cook), then add your veg, spices and beans.  The result is a hearty and versatile dish that can be a great side or main star, a dinner entrée or breakfast delight!


Serves:  Six to Eight
Time:  2 hours

2 tbs olive oil
1 ham hock
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced, ribs and seeds removed (or kept in if you like it hot!)
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
5-15.5 oz cans of beans (2 red kidney, 3 black beans – or any combination of your favorites!)
4-5 tbs red wine vinegar (secret ingredient – really makes the dish pop!)
2 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs kosher salt
3 tbs Tajin
1 tbs coarsely ground black pepper


Heat a heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch oven) over medium high heat with 2 tbs of olive oil.  When shimmering, add the ham hock and seer it on all sides.  You should start to see some brown bits (fond) starting to accumulate on the bottom of the pot.  That’s good!

Next, add your peppers and garlic (layering the garlic on top of the peppers so it doesn’t burn).  Stir around the hock.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Pour in the beans with their liquid and stir.  Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar and spices.  Stir again and taste for seasoning.  Turn the heat down to low and allow to cook for 45 minutes with the lid partially on.  Occasionally check the pot and stir to ensure beans are not burning.  Remove the lid and cook for another 45 minutes.

Serve hot.  Pictured, are the beans served with roasted boneless chicken breasts.  Other serving ideas would be the beans by themselves, accompanied by a lush green salad.  Finally, reheat the beans in the morning and garnish with a sunny side egg on top.  So awesome!

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A great day for me is preparing great meals for friends and family. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and also updating classics that I've enjoyed for years. I love to travel and try lots of new cuisines - and wouldn't be anything without the love of my family!

5 thoughts on “Big Ole Pot o’ Beans

  1. Love this, Ralph! A “big ole pot of beans” [mostly pinto] is one of my favorite memories growing up. Especially right after Christmas with the hock from the Christmas ham. Yum!!

  2. Oh my gosh, Ralph, this sounds delicious! Every time I see your name now I get hungry. It’s very Pavlovian.

    1. You are too sweet! Thank you! I bet you have had plenty of amazing bean dishes in Costa Rica!!

  3. What a gorgeous looking meal. I am sure it tasted so amazingly good. I think I would forget the spoon and just face-plant into it! You are the mayor of yum city USA!!!

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