Mrs. Cindy's Ham Hocks and Butter Beans!
My mother would make it a point to cook a variety of beans during the winter months. Like many mothers in the 60's & 70's, she knew how to prepare meals that made you feel good, full, and warm in the winters. I remember walking home and turning the Conover Place corner in Long Branch, smelling mother's beans and ham hocks in the air on cold wintry days after indoor track practice on the Jersey Shore.
I'm sorry to report that this is not a millennial recipe. You can substitute recipe with smoked items of your personal preference. In the meantime, here's a beautiful recipe that my mother would make in the winter made with smoked ham hocks, Lima beans, onions, celery, red pepper, brown sugar, coarse salt, black pepper, garlic, mustard, & ground cloves.
First, wash off Lima beans and cover them in water and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, rinse beans and set them aside.
Next, take four smoked ham hocks in a pot. Cover with water and add one large coarsely chopped onion, two whole garlic cloves, one twig of thyme, and 1 tsp of salt and bring to a full boil for 30 minutes.
Once thirty minutes have passed, add one lb package of pre-soaked Lima beans to boiling ham hock stock. Also, add the other ingredients:
Two cups of baby carrots, two stalks of chopped celery, 1 tsp of spicy ground mustard, 2 -3 tablespoons of brown sugar, and additional tsp of coarse salt, 1 tsp of black pepper, and a pinch or ¼ tsp of ground cloves into boiling ham hock stock.
Lower heat and allow ham hocks, Lima beans, and other ingredients to simmer, regularly checking and stirring beans until beans are soft and ham hock meat & skin falls off bones. Approximately 2 hours. Serve with hot tea, cornbread, and if you like to cheat when preparing a meal for your fam open up a can of Mrs. Sylvia's Mustard Collard Greens for your veggie item!
Thanks for reading! Below is a short link on the history of the Lima Bean in North and South American culture.
Happy Valentine's Day from the Brittingham's
Mrs. Cindy's Ham Hocks and Butter Beans
Four fat ham hocks
One package of dried Lima beans (1lb)
Seven cups of water
One stick of thyme
One large onion chopped
One cup chopped celery
One cup of coarsely chopped red peppers
Two to three tablespoons of brown sugar
One teaspoon of spicy brown mustard
Two teaspoons of coarse salt
One teaspoon of Black pepper
One-fourth teaspoon of ground cloves
Sprinkle of Parsley
To the right a picture of Beatrix Potter's character Peter Rabbit. Above I and my brother and sisters. Lima Bean history in North and South America https://nalgc.nal.usda.gov/lima-beans#:~:text=The%20early%20history%20of%20the,Peru%20and%20the%20American%20South.