We have a routine we fell into around here for making chicken stock over the weekend; we time this not because it’s a weekend, but because our solid waste visits on Tuesday mornings. (Yes, we make cooking decisions based partly on what to do with the waste. In Houston’s heat, it’s simply NOT a good idea to throw chicken scraps in the container in the hot sun.)

We cook up the chicken usually on Sunday. We debone as soon as it’s cool enough to handle; then begin the stock either that day or the next. The idea being to not have to store the used bones and scraps any more than a day or two. One of my top favorite things to do with the stock is make up this recipe.

Of course, you can do this in your favorite stockpot on the stove top if you like. I enjoy using the crock pot so I don’t have to watch for over boiling. And it’s cooler.

Ingredients

1 quart home made chicken stock
1 pound dried red beans; rinsed clean and picked over
3-4 smoked ham hocks
dried thyme
garlic powder (or fresh garlic)
onion powder
cayenne pepper
black pepper
white pepper
sugar
Worchestershire Sauce

Directions

Place the rinsed beans and ham hocks in the cooker. Add the chicken stock. Make sure the beans and hocks are covered by at least a half inch of liquid. Add more water or stock if necessary.

Cover, and turn heat to either low or high, depending on your time constraints. They’ll cook up in about 3 hours on high; or 5 or 6 hours on low. Times may vary depending on your cooker.

When the beans are almost tender, add the seasonings. I like to use about 1/2 teaspoon of thyme, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or a whole head of garlic) and just a few dashes of the three peppers. I use about a teaspoon of sugar, and just a splash of the Worchestershire.

Continue cooking until the beans reach your desired tenderness. Remove the hocks and debone. I like to snack on the skins right there on the spot. Returned the pork meat to the pot and serve over rice or just pile the beans in a bowl and garnish with grated cheddar and a bit of hot sauce. Have fun!