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Soup Beans

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Featured in Season 3, Episode 6

Cook time: Approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes
Serves: 8


  • 1lb dried pinto beans
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 tbs neutral oil such as grapeseed or canola
  • 2 teaspoons salt plus additional to taste
  • 1 white onion, sliced into rounds, for serving


Carefully look through the beans and remove any half beans, rocks, or discolored beans. Put the beans in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid and add enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Set the pot of beans on the stove over high heat. Once the beans begin to boil, remove the pot from the heat and drain the beans into a colander. Rinse the beans with cold water and set aside (alternatively you may soak your dried beans overnight before proceeding).  

Return the pot to the stove and warm over medium heat. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds before adding the ham hock. Brown the pork on all sides, approximately 2 minutes per side. Add the beans along with enough water to cover by ½ inch. Bring the beans to a boil and then cover, drop the heat to medium-low, and allow the beans to simmer until they have softened and the broth is thick and rich, 2 to 2 ½ hours. The beans tend to stick so stir often and add additional water as needed as the beans cook down, ensuring they do not become too thick (the beans should maintain a ‘soupy’ consistency however you do not want to add too much water as this will make the beans weak). Add salt after 1.5 hours of cooking.  

Once the beans are tender and soupy, use a wooden spoon to press some of the beans against the side of the pot, stirring the smashed beans into the soup, enhancing the texture and depth of flavor. Taste and add additional salt if preferred. Serve warm with onions alongside.