Creamy, hearty, and comforting white beans stew with smoked ham hock for added rich, smoky flavor. This is meant to be eaten as a stew, but could easily be served as a filling side dish.
Many of you have asked me for Instapot recipes, so here you have it. This is my first one, as I broke in my new Christmas present with this bean and ham hock recipe. The recipe is basically a converted traditional stovetop recipe, so if you don’t have an Instapot no problem as the directions are basically the same and transferrable. Admittedly I was surprised by how simple it was to use as well as the intense flavor it produced. I guess my old school pressure cooker may now be a relic, marginalized by innovation.
This instapot beans recipe is my take on a typical Provençal soup/beans recipe which features ingredients like ham, fresh herbs, and a medley of 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 (wine and vegetable stock) as I wanted more of a thicker bean dish vs. more soupy. This lends some itself to the white 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 gets you there.
Does This Recipe Work With Other Vegetables?
This is actually a base go-to recipe for me cause of its versatility. 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.
Why White Beans?
Black-eyed peas and pintos also make perfectly good substitutes for white beans in this recipe. But note, white beans do have their advantages. But if you’re looking for a black-eyed peas recipe to cook for New Year’s just swap out the white beans.
- They absorb flavors extremely well so anything (herbs, wine, bacon, etc.) they get paired with gets pulled in
- They also break down pretty quickly when cooking which releases their creaminess in the form of starches right into the body of the soup
- Naturally high in protein and fiber
What about the okra, is it slimy?
Now when you’re cooking this dish it may be a good idea to keep family members out the kitchen. Ham 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, as it’s one of the benefits of cooking them in an instapot. The high pressure cooks them the slime away, leaving you with tender, delicious okra.
Instapot Ham Hock and Beans Cooking Tips
- Saute the vegetables first to release the flavors
- Add spices to the saute, as heat brings out their flavor more
- Cook the smoked ham hock whole and then after the dish is done, remove, cut into pieces and add back to the pot
- Have bread on hand as you’ll want to sop up any and all remains
Ham Hock and White Bean Stew
If you make this comforting white bean stew, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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Instapot White Beans and Ham Hocks Stew
Creamy and flavorful white bean stew with chunks of ham hocks that add both richness and smokiness.
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 smoked ham hocks
- 1 medium red onions diced
- 10 whole okra ends removed and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 large carrot quartered and chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 large sprigs of thyme
- 1 cup cannellini beans (dried) soaked overnight
- 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
Set instapot settings to saute and add olive oil, onions, carrots, okra, and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes
Add paprika, pepper, salt, allspice and saute for an additional minute
Add beans, broth, water, wine, ham hock, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir well. Twist to lock the lid, and turn the valve to sealing. Cook at high pressure 40 minutes, and then let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.
Turn the valve to venting. Unlock lid, and remove ham hocks with tongs. Discard skin, bones and cartilage. Chop or shred ham and stir back into beans.
For traditional stovetop cooking approach follow the same instructions using a large pot or dutch oven. Saute the vegetables on medium heat and then cook the beans covered on simmer for 40 minutes or more depending on the desired level of creaminess.
For creamier beans, put a ladle or two of the beans into a small bowl, and mash with a potato masher or fork. Stir back into the pot.