Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekend Cooking...Southwestern Antifreeze

When it gets cold, my mind turns toward soup.
Hot, tasty soup.
Maybe with a grilled cheese sandwich. Hmmmmm...

So when I saw this recipe on Blue Kitchen, I was off to hunt down some ham hocks.
It was really an easy soup. While the stock, ham hocks, water and bay leafs were bubbling away, I chopped and sauteed the veggies.
When the stock was done, add the beans (See below and my bean change), add the veggies and simmer away for awhile. I used a stick blender to puree it a bit and thicken it up, a little lime, a little sour cream, some cilantro and we are good to go!!

Black Bean Soup with Ham Hocks

  • 1 pound dried black beans, soaked (or three cans black beans)
  • 1 smoked ham hock, 3/4 to 1 pound 
  • 5 cups water 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • oil 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, finely chopped   
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced 
  • 2 ribs celery, peeled and diced 
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained 
  • freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons 
  • fresh lime juice (see Kitchen Notes) 
  • salt 
  • sour cream 
  • chopped cilantro for garnish 

Place soaked beans and ham hock in large, heavy stock pot or Dutch oven. Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan or skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, carrots and celery. Toss to coat with oil and sweat vegetables for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Clear a space in center of pan, drizzling in extra oil if needed, and add garlic and cumin. Cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat and toss vegetables to combine.
Set aside.

Using tongs, transfer ham hock to shallow bowl and set aside. Remove and discard bay leaves; add vegetable mixture and tomatoes to pot. Season generously with fresh ground black pepper, but don’t add any salt at this point.

Transfer 4 cups of soup to food processor and carefully purée.
Return to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1/2 hour or more. Meanwhile, when ham hock has cooled enough to handle, remove the skin, fat and bones and chop the meat into small pieces. Return to pot.
As the soup simmers, you may get a bit of foam on the top. If so, skim it off and discard.
Add lime juice and adjust seasoning with salt, if needed—the ham hock will provide plenty of saltiness, so you probably won’t need much.
Top with a dollop of sour cream, if using, and garnish with cilantro. Serve. 

Of course, I made my usual amount of changes. Number one was I used canned black beans, 3 cans. I just did not have the time to do that soaking and simmering and really, I don't see that much of a difference. But you feel free to follow the recipe and cook those beans with the hocks. Also, I used two 10 oz. cans of Rotel tomatoes with the chilies already in them, rather than add a jalapeño. Just because I had them in the pantry. Gotta rotate that stock! And I cut the water from 8 to 5 cups. 8 just seemed like too much.
 Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe.

Oh, and you might notice that does not look like sour cream.
I forgot the sour cream so I looked in the fridge and saw that Mexican cheese from last week. Crumbled a bit on top and was very happy with the change!
There is always time for cheese!!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Well now, isn't that a perfect soup for this wintery weather. Looks filling, comforting and delish!

  2. Soup- yes! Great idea! I have ingredients for green chile stew. Sounds like a plan! And it will of course get topped with Mexican cheese!

  3. What can be better than soup -- anytime and especially in winter. YUM. Now I wish we weren't going out tonight; making soup sounds like a great idea.

  4. I love soup even in the summer and that looks delicious!!

  5. I wish my family liked black beans because your soup looks wonderful. Maybe I'll make it just for myself!

  6. Mmmmm, a great looking soup to make this weekend. Hope the market has ham hocks. :)

  7. this sounds delicious-I am sure your kitchen smells great after simmering this dish.

    1. those ham hocks do give off a lovely aroma as they cook..

  8. Isn't it great how changes to the recipes always seem to work out? I love that you are always doing this, giving me ideas.

  9. I hadn't thought of using black beans with ham hocks - I usually use split peas. have a great week.

  10. That looks really good! Perfect for a cold weather day.

  11. I feel that pretty well anytime is soup time. hubby loves grilled cheese with his as well.

  12. Ooooh, yum. It must be the weekend for soup. I made soup for supper last night :)

  13. Ham hocks cry out for black eyed peas!

    1. Ham hocks can cry out for several things..beans...peas...

  14. Oh, that looks delicious. I love ham in a soup/stew type food, and the inclusion of black beans sounds yummy. Thanks for sharing!


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!