This white beans recipe is my take on a typical Provençal soup/beans recipe which features ingredients like ham, celery, fresh herbs, and a medley of summer vegetables. I simply remixed it soul food style by substituting ingredients common in soul food dishes like okra and ham hocks to accompany the white beans. Many Provençal soup recipes call for bacon, but since I had some smoked ham hocks on hand I used them. The smokiness added an additional layer of flavor to go with the strong thyme essence and sweetness provided by the wine.
I went light on the broth (water, wine, and vegetable stock) as I wanted more of a thicker bean dish vs. more soupie. This lend some itself to the whites beans and vegetables really sticking out and being the hero. However, if you prefer more of a soup consistency increasing the broth ingredients levels and cooking longer/slower on the stovetop gets you there.
This is a go to summer recipe for me cause it works with a variety of different vegetables so depending on the season you can change things up to your liking. I’ve made this dish with other soul food staples like turnips, artichokes, sweet potatoes, etc. and go back and forth between white beans and black eyed peas.
Now when you’re cooking this dish it may be a good idea to keep family members out the kitchen. Hocks ain’t really all that familiar to a generation of folk and okra is always polarizing. My crew has been socialized over time to be open to okra given the frequency in which I cook it but initially they were scared off by the slime factor. Don’t worry these okra are slime free.
Great beats, better eats. Enjoy!
White Beans and Ham Hocks Stew
- 1 lemon halved
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 smoked ham hocks meat removed from bone and chopped
- 8 small shallots or mini onion bulbs halved
- 10 whole okra ends removed chopped in halves short wise
- 3 garlic cloves halved
- 4 carrots quartered and chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 large sprigs of thyme
- 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
- 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- kosher salt
- black pepper
Heat one tablespoon oil in dutch oven pot, add the ham hocks and brown quickly. Transfer to a plate.
Add additional olive oil to pot then fry shallots and garlic until golden. Add carrots and saute for 2 minutes. Increase the heat and add the okra frying for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil to reduce for 2 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 3 minutes then add ham hocks, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Cover and cook in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Add the beans, return to the oven and heat through uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.