Smoked Ham Hocks with Braised Collard Greens & Beans

This recipe yields a flavorful and comforting dish that combines the smoky richness of ham hocks with the earthy flavors of collard greens and beans.

Ingredients:
2 smoked ham hocks
1 pound dried beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and leaves chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Hot sauce (optional, for serving)

Method:
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the soaked and drained beans, chopped onion, minced garlic, dried thyme, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, pepper, and chicken or vegetable broth.

2. Add the smoked ham hocks to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the beans are tender and the ham hocks are falling off the bone.

3. Remove the ham hocks from the pot and let them cool slightly. Once cooled, remove the meat from the bones and chop or shred it into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bones and any excess fat.

4. Return the chopped ham hock meat to the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Add the chopped collard greens to the pot and stir well to combine. Simmer uncovered for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the collard greens are tender and cooked to your liking.

5. Stir in the apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavors of the dish. Serve the smoked ham hocks, collard greens, and beans hot, garnished with a dash of hot sauce if desired.

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