So I did the Green Beans with Ham Hock and New Potatoes recipe from Food Network last night. This is what fresh green beans are for. The picture was taken after I’d devoured a bunch of it already.
The recipe is really perfect. You simmer two ham hocks for 45 minutes, which gets a bunch of yummy out of those knuckles. Then you throw in the beans with some sugar, and I think the sugar does more than add a bit of sweetness; I think it helps to break down that tough cellulose. I only had a pound of beans, so I used 1/4 cup of sugar. After they simmer a while, in go the potatoes and salt. The result is beans that are nicely seasoned, easy to gobble, and that still offer that somewhat resistant mouthfeel. The potatoes give up some starch to the beans at just the right time, I think.
Another observation: I have only worked with ham hocks once before, and I did not bother at the time to go hunting for meat. I did with these, and I was surprised how much good pork one can find from this hard-working part. To throw on some color, I threw these hocks into my air fryer for five minutes. Once I removed the fatty layer, but I was able to find maybe a quarter pound of really nice meat. Next time, though, I’ll save this step for later because it is a good bit of work, and the potatoes and beans do not need the meat. Why add another step while you have a delicious steaming bowl of beans and taters to serve? Save the carving for later; the meat will serve another purpose. I’m thinking spaghetti sauce or tacos.