Lake Isle Press

Ham Hocks, String Beans, and Potatoes

Sandra Lawrence's porcine prescription for the Winter Blues: "I Got the Blues Comfort Pot"—ham hocks, string beans, and potatoes simmered slow and low.

Ham Hocks, String Beans, and Potatoes


  • 4 large smoked ham hocks (pigs’ knuckles)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 pounds string beans, trimmed
  • 4 russet potatoes, halved


Serves 4

Rinse the ham hocks, place them in a 6-quart pot, and cover with water to 3 inches above the hocks. Add the garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and onion powder. Bring the water to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cover. Simmer until the ham hock is soft and the skin is just about to burst, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Add the string beans and potatoes and cook until the potatoes and beans are done, about 30 minutes.

Note: Choose ham hocks with a light tan color. The darker the hocks, the heavier the smoke; the darker ones will tend to be harder, too. Look for a good plug of ham on the wide end.

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