Monday, July 28, 2014

Southern-Style Speckled Butter Beans

A summertime Southern favorite, fresh speckled butter beans are stewed down with a ham hock enhanced broth.

Southern Style Speckled Butter Beans

Somewhere in the dark recesses of my deep freeze, I have some ham hocks. But... The Cajun handled the transportation of our freezer from the old house to the new, along with the contents of it, all scattered about in massive coolers, and frankly, I just crammed it all back in there with no manner of organization once it arrived.

Needless to say, I now can't find a thing.

Nor can I fit a thing else into it either, so I used some smoked pork necks that fell out, along with some ham chunks that also fell out, when I opened the door. Hey... works for me!

If your ham hock isn't very meaty, as I often suggest, add in some minced, smoked ham. I also find that speckled butter beans benefit from bacon drippings for flavor, so I like to stir some in at the end, along with a little butter. You do keep a pot or jar of bacon drippings in your fridge, right? No worries, if not. Just fry up a couple or three slices and use them in your beans!

Here's how I make a pot of speckled butter beans.

Slash ham hock with a knife and place in a pot; add water. May substitute other smoked pork also, including bacon, or use salt pork or fatback if you prefer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Rinse the beans, pick through for any debris if they are fresh, and add to the pot. Bring back up to a boil, stir, reduce heat to a very low simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes. I would love to tell you that I grew these myself but I didn't. I picked these up at the Biloxi Farmer's Market, already shelled and ready to cook.

Remove the ham hock and pull any meat off; return meat to pot and discard bone. Add in additional chopped, smoked ham.

Stir in the bacon fat or butter (I like to use a little of both) and half and half, if using. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking, uncovered, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until beans reach the texture desired.

Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from heat, cover and let rest in the juices for at least 10 minutes, or until ready to serve. Even better the next day.

Here in the Deep South you are very likely to find butter beans, Southern peas and other beans served with rice. That's just the way we do it down here. Don't be surprised if you see a chunk of spicy andouille added too!

Speckled butter beans served Deep South style - with chunks of andouille smoked sausage and steamed rice, alongside some cornbread and some greens with pickled onions.

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Posted by on July 28, 2014
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