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Welcome to a plate of my childhood with these Pork and Beans, my Mom’s special recipe. Each bite is a cozy journey back to my mom’s kitchen table, where every meal was a heartwarming celebration of flavors and family.
My Mom’s Pork And Beans Recipe
Ah, my Mom’s Pork and Beans, a timeless dish from my youth that never fails to bring a tide of nostalgia with each savory spoonful. The secret weapon in this comforting concoction? The smoked pork hock, whose rich, hearty flavors seep lovingly through every morsel, offering a warm embrace in the form of a robust, satisfying meal.
Fast forward to today, and this dish isn’t just my past – it’s also a treasured part of the present, especially for my husband, who lights up at the mere mention of visiting my parents, knowing well that this beloved meal will grace our plates. Whenever we visit, his eyes gleam with anticipation, waiting for that first comforting bite, his nods of approval silently affirming that mom’s special recipe will forever have a spot in our hearts (and stomachs).
Why You’ll Love My Mom’s Pork And Beans
- Homemade Comfort: There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal to soothe the soul, and this Pork and Beans dish is the epitome of comfort, with its rich, savory flavors and hearty ingredients.
- Unique Twist with Smoked Pork Hock: Unlike standard pork and beans, the inclusion of smoked pork hock elevates the dish, giving it an unmatched depth of flavor and smokiness.
- Family-Approved: Not only has this recipe been a cherished part of family gatherings, but it’s also earned the seal of approval from even the pickiest eaters, making it a surefire hit for dinners and gatherings.
- Smoked Pork Hock: Integral for its rich, smoky essence which deeply permeates the beans during the slow cooking process, creating a nostalgic and homely flavor. If unavailable, smoked ham or bacon can be alternatives, though they will slightly alter the dish’s authentic taste.
- Olive Oil: For sautéing the veggies, it sets a flavorful foundation for the dish. Vegetable oil or butter are suitable swaps if you’re out of olive oil.
- Onion, Carrots, Celery, and Bell Pepper: This veggie combo, often referred to as mirepoix, builds a savory depth to the dish. Feel free to swap in your preferred veggies or whatever is handy.
- Garlic: An aromatic powerhouse, garlic lends a bold, zesty character to the dish. In a pinch, garlic powder or shallots could step in.
- Tomato Paste: Offering a concentrated tomato essence and a hint of sweetness, this ingredient deepens the dish’s color and flavor. Canned tomatoes or tomato sauce are acceptable stand-ins.
- Salt and Pepper: Basic yet crucial, these seasonings enhance and balance the flavors. Adjust according to your palate or dietary needs.
- Fresh Thyme: Providing an earthy and slightly minty note, thyme complements the pork and beans beautifully. Dried thyme or rosemary can substitute when fresh is unattainable.
- Vegeta: An optional yet impactful ingredient, vegeta brings an additional flavor layer. Feel free to omit or replace with another all-purpose seasoning if preferred or a cube of chicken bouillon.
- Mixed Canned Beans: The hearty base of the dish, contributing both texture and a robust flavor. You can explore using different beans or try pre-soaked dried beans, albeit with a slightly altered cooking process. I typically like to use cannellini, navy, or pinto beans.
You’re going to absolutely love making my mom’s pork and beans – it’s straightforward, filled with hearty flavors, and pure comfort in a bowl. Although this dish take a while to cook, it’s quite easy to make.
First things first, grab that smoked pork hock and give it a good wash, then pat it dry with paper towels. We’re going to get a bit hands-on and cut it into bite-sized pieces. But hey, save that bone! It’s like a secret flavor weapon for the beans later on. Cutting up the meat can be a bit messy but think of all that flavor we’re going to get – totally worth it!
Next up, let’s tackle the veggies. Heat up the olive oil in a big Dutch oven or whatever large pot you’ve got. Toss in your chopped onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Just let them do their thing, getting all soft and fragrant, which should take about 5 to 7 minutes. It’s all about building those flavors layer by layer, you know?
Now, add your minced garlic, tomato paste, a good pinch of salt, and pepper, vegeta if you’re using it, stirring and letting it cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.
And then comes the pork hock meat and fresh thyme. We’re just cooking it for another 5-10 minutes to brown it slightly – it’s all about that deep, rich taste.
Pop in the pork hock bone, beans, and enough water to cover everything nicely. Bring it all to a rolling boil, then dial back the heat so it can simmer gently. Letting it cook low and slow for 1.5 to 2 hours, giving it a stir now and then. This is where all those fabulous flavors start mingling and getting to know each other!
After the simmering, do a little taste test and adjust the salt and pepper if you need to. Ladle it into bowls, serve it up warm, and enjoy those hearty, comforting bites. A side of raw onions and crispy bread just takes it to the next level – trust me, it’s how Mom always does it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different cut of pork if I don’t have pork hock?
Absolutely, you can substitute with other smoky pork cuts like smoked pork shoulder or ham hock. The key is to maintain that deep, smoked flavor that the pork hock usually provides.
What if I want to use dried beans instead of canned ones?
No problem! Use about 1 pound of dried beans. Just make sure to soak them overnight and give them a good rinse before adding them to the pot. You might also need to adjust the cooking time to ensure they get fully cooked and tender.
Is there an alternative for vegeta, or can I omit it?
You can either omit vegeta or substitute it with a vegetable or chicken bouillon cube for that added umami flavor. If you’re watching your salt intake, there are low-sodium alternatives available.
Can this recipe be made in a slow cooker?
Yes, it can! After sautéing the vegetables and browning the pork meat, transfer everything to your slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the beans are tender and the flavors meld together beautifully.
- Choosing Pork Hocks: Opt for smoked pork hocks with a visible amount of meat on them to ensure you extract maximum flavor and have substantial pieces in your dish.
- Bean Varieties: Feel free to experiment with different types of canned beans (like cannellini, navy, or pinto beans) to slightly tweak the flavor profile of the dish according to your preference.
- Cooking Time: Patience is key! Allow the pork and beans to simmer slowly and undisturbed as much as possible to let the flavors meld together and intensify.
- Vegeta Usage: While vegeta adds a unique flavor, it can be quite salty. Be mindful to adjust the additional salt in your recipe accordingly to prevent an overly salty dish.
- Tomato Paste: For a richer tomato flavor, let the tomato paste “bloom” by cooking it with the sautéed vegetables for a couple of minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Simply let the pork and beans cool down to room temperature before deciding if you’ll be refrigerating or freezing it. For short-term storage, transfer it into airtight containers and pop it into the refrigerator where it’ll keep beautifully for up to 4 days.
This dish freezes wonderfully. Just portion the cooled stew into freezer-friendly bags or containers, ensuring you leave a little space for expansion, and it will hold up in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw it overnight in the fridge and then reheat gently on the stove, stirring occasionally until piping hot.
Discover More Beans Recipes
- Baked Beans
- Tuscan Bean Soup
- Chili Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Refried Beans
- Pasta Fagioli
- Red Beans and Rice
- 1 smoked pork hock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 3 stalks celery (chopped)
- 1 medium bell pepper (chopped)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon vegeta (optional)
- 6-8 cups water
- 60 ounces mixed canned beans (4 15 ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
- Thoroughly wash the pork hock and pat it dry with paper towels. Carefully cut the pork hock into bite size pieces, cutting as much meat from the bone as possible. Don't discard the bone, we'll add it to the pot later.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pepper and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes until soft.
- Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.
- Add the pork hock meat only at this time, stir it in and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you find everything is sticking to the Dutch oven, deglaze with a bit of water. Stir in the thyme and vegeta if using.
- Add the pork hock bone, drained beans, and enough water to cover the beans and pork.
- Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve warm with raw onions, and crispy bread.
- Smoked Pork Hock Alternative: If you’re unable to find a smoked pork hock, smoked ham or smoked turkey legs can also infuse the beans with a rich, smoky flavor.
- Bean Varieties: Feel free to mix up the bean varieties based on what’s available or your personal preferences, keeping the overall volume the same.
- Vegeta Seasoning: If you opt out of using Vegeta, consider enhancing the flavor with a mix of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder, or simply stick to a good-quality chicken or vegetable broth.
- Adjusting Consistency: Throughout the cooking process, if you find the mixture becoming too dry, you can add more water or broth to reach your desired consistency. Similarly, if it’s too watery, allow it to simmer uncovered for a while longer.
- Serving Suggestion: For an extra touch, consider serving with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or a dash of hot sauce for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.