Mama Rosita’s Beans with Shredded Smoked Pork
Updated: Jan 9
My grandmother would prepare beans by cooking them with large pieces of onion and garlic that she would later remove. She used the small red beans common in many Central America, but I like black beans for their more robust flavor – and of course, I like to add pork! I usually serve them with long grain white rice that I have cooked in chicken stock and then mixed with chopped fresh cilantro.
Serves: 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side
Supplies: An instant pot or pressure cooker is not strictly necessary, but speeds cooking time
Prep Time: 15 minutes – Cook Time: 1 Hour, 15 minutes – Total Time: 1.5 hours
1 Flight Path Farm Ham Hock
1-2 T apple cider (or other) vinegar
1 1-lb package dried black beans
1 large onion, quartered
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Place the ham hock in your instant pot or pressure cooker and cover with water. Add 1-2 T of vinegar. Cook under pressure for 1.5-2 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone. Using tongs, remove the ham hock from the hot water and allow to cool. Once cool, pull meat off the bone and shred or dice. Reserve meat and cooking liquid. (Note: this "hot ham water" soup is actually quite tasty on its own as broth.)
Meanwhile, prepare the beans to soak. In a large pot, bring 6-8 cups of water to a boil. Add the dried black beans to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the beans for about 2 minutes, and then remove from heat. Allow beans to rest in the water for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to cook.
Drain black beans from soaking liquid and add to instant pot, pressure cooker, or standard cooking pot. Add cooked pork from the ham hock, and water from boiling the ham hock (just enough to cover the beans). Add oregano, cumin, bay leaves, and salt, and stir to combine. Place quartered onion and smashed garlic cloves on top of the beans. Cook under high pressure for 20 minutes, until beans are soft. Remove and discard the now soft and smooshy onion (and garlic, if it has not fallen apart) and bay leaves. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
You can make this with any kind of bean; just skip the cumin and oregano if you don’t want Latin American flavors for your final product. For an easy bean soup, use navy beans or a bean blend and cook with more water. For a yummy vegetable bean soup, you can sauté chopped onion, carrots, and celery in a frying pan with 1-2 tsp of Italian herbs; once the beans are done cooking, add vegetables along with 1 can of stewed tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes to help blend the flavors.