Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Smoked Ham Hock Hominy Stew

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.


jti said...

As I've posted, I also LOVE meals on the cheap and "peasant" foods - they always seem to deliver ! I have fed people multi-course "gourmet" (I hate the term) meals for under $5 a head. You can hardly even eat at the Golden Arches for $5.

While were on the subject, Slim & I just had Eye of Chuck ($4.89/lb) for dinner that had the flavor and texture of a Filet or pricey steak. It's all in how you do it...

jti said...

Oh - and let's not forget one of my favs - Western-Style Pork Ribs ($1.89/lb !) Seasoned and grilled on High/Medium High, topped with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. I've made my own sauce, but their's is better (at this point)...

Dan from Madison said...

BBQ Sauce is tough. I have tried it several times and have never gotten close to where I want to be with it, so that is one of the few foods that I will have to chalk up and just buy.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Must admit, that's something I never even thought of trying. Looks great! This is the best time of year for cooking peasant style comfort food like soups and stews and stuff. Especially with that blizzard blasting outside tonight.

Also, I have no idea what hominy is. Is hominy whole corn? I thought it was more like grits. That looks like whole corn kernels in the pot.

Dan from Madison said...

Hominy is corn that has has either been dried and soaked in lye, or actually cooked in a lye type solution - either process removes the outer hull from the corn and makes the corn edible. It is a process that has been used for centuries - literally.

In the store they had white and golden hominy - this recipe required golden, but next time (and there will be a next time) I think I will try it with white.

Jimmy said...

Man that looks good, I am definitely going to do this one. BTW I think you meant two 15 oz cans of hominy?

For a simple breakfast dish try this - take a pound of pork sausage (plain, hot, sage, your preference) and crumble it into a frying pan and start cooking and when it is about halfway done, break up a can of hominy (I like white) into it and keep cooking until pork is done and hominy has just started to brown. Man that is good.

BTW found yer site courtesy of Hog On Ice.

Dan from Madison said...

Right you are Jimmy, nice catch. I will fix.

J said...

made your recipe today (2-6-10). followed it totally. it was delicious, very hearty meal. thanks for the great instruction and photo's.

jim from boston

Dan from Madison said...

Glad you liked it! I should make it again soon, it has been a few months.