Fresh green beans (1/2 pound per person, pre-snapped)
Smoked Ham Hock (1 regular sized per 4-6 servings)
Bay leaf (1 large leaf per 4 servings)
All-purpose seasoning such as ‘Tony Chachere’s Original Seasoning’® or ‘Old Bay Seasoning’® to taste. (use about 1 teaspoon for 2 pounds beans and 6-8 small red potatoes)
Fresh Red potatoes, the smaller the better. (2 per serving)
Carrots; 1 regular sized carrot per person (optional, but definitely preferable)
Small whole jalapeño pepper (optional, 1 pepper per 4-6 serving size pot)
Note: It’s all done to taste, just like our grandmothers did. Additional table salt is usually unnecessary as the all purpose seasoning and ham hock contain sufficient salt. If you don’t like hot peppers substitute black pepper for the jalapeño pepper, and add it about 10 minutes before the beans are done. Once you get everything boiling, taste a bit of the liquid, it should be too salty, as the potatoes will absorb the salt. Get the salt right early on ‘cuz it just ain’t the same if you add salt afterwards.
Start by putting enough cold water to cover the beans and potatoes about an inch or so into a pot. Add ham hock. Bring to a rolling boil.
Snap ends from beans, rinse well with cold water, set aside.
Scrub potatoes well under cold water; do not peel the potatoes. Halve them only if they’re bigger than a golf ball.
Scrub but don’t peel the carrots. Cut into chunks just about double bite size.
Pierce jalapeño pepper with a knife about an inch or so lengthwise, but don’t dice it or cut it up. It can be removed later along with the bay leaf.
Once the water has reached a rolling boil and the ham hock is giving up it’s tasty juice, throw everything into the pot. Return to a rolling boil and reduce heat to medium. (do your salt check about 10 minutes after this) Let it all cook, the slower the better, until about 90% of the water has evaporated.
Using a long wooden spoon, smack the hands of everyone who wanders into the kitchen trying to steal a taste. (Trust me, they will!)
Note: They’re always the first dish to disappear; everyone ALWAYS goes for seconds or thirds. Just ask your Grandmother. This is the real deal. Soul Food is all about cooking from the heart, and I’ve found that the best recipes have no measures. It’s all about taste! Enjoy!