Recipes that fascinate me the most are ones that not only taste good, but are cheap, and provide lots of food. This recipe fits all three criteria perfectly.
I found it over on Epicurious, a site that hosts tons and tons of recipes. Here is the recipe if you want it.
I was inspired to cook something with ham hocks since Steve H. was talking about it the other day. Before this dish, I don't think I have ever had a ham hock, at least not knowingly (how bad could it be, it is part of a pig for goodness sake!). For that matter, I had never had hominy either. I tasted some right out of the can, not too good. But when it was cooked up in this dish, WOW I will definitely have it again. Here is what you need:
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
.5 tsp crushed red pepper
2 pounds smoked ham hocks
2 - 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
1 - 14.5 oz can stewed sliced tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 - 15 oz cans golden hominy, drained
All you do is heat the oil, and sweat the onions down with the cumin, thyme, bay leaf and red pepper for five minutes. Then toss in the ham hocks, broth, tomatoes, and garlic. Here is what you have at this point, click to enlarge:
You will notice that the liquid doesn't cover the ham hocks. It didn't matter, I just turned them a few times in the cooking process - you simmer the works for 1.5 hours. I wish we had smell-o-vision, what a wonderful batch of aromas. At the end you take out the ham hocks and strip them of their meat, and throw the meat back into the pot, along with the hominy. Simmer for another 15 minutes and you are done. Now you have this:
Note how far down the liquid level has reduced - the flavors in that pot are extremely intense, with the spices mixing with the broth, pork fat, and everything else. The hominy sucked up a lot of the moisture as well, creating a perfect stew.
The total cost of this dish was about $7 - $3.50 for the smoked ham hocks, and a few bucks for the hominy and tomatoes, a buck for an onion and that is pretty much it. The spices I already had in the cabinet.