Pork and beans come together in cultures across the world, but in this ham hock soup, distinctly Southern butter beans and the South’s revered pig merge dreamily together in decidedly Southern elegance that costs only pennies to make.
Adapted from "Southern Farmers Market Cookbook" by Holly Herrick.
This recipe for garbure is courtesy of David McAninch, from his book Duck Season. Garbure is a ham and vegetable soup that is traditional in the region of Gascony in southwestern France.“There are meatier garbures to be found—the extravagant stew in Paula Wolfert’s The Cooking of South-West France, for one—but this simple version from Nadine Cauzette is closer to the everyday garbures served in most Gascon homes. Dried great northern beans are a fine substitute for haricots tarbais, the kind of beans used for garbure in Gascony. This soup tastes even better if made a day ahead and allowed to rest in the fridge overnight.” — David McAninch
“There are various theories as to the origin of feijoada. Some believe it was created by African- Brazilians during colonial times using leftovers from animal parts; others believe the dish was inspired by European meat and bean stews; and still others say that feijoada first became popular in the favelas (shantytowns) of Rio. Today the origin of feijoada means little to most modern cariocas, but has become a habit on some Saturdays and a desperate craving on others.Saturdays in Rio were made for feijoada. Every Saturday, Hotel Caesar Park serves a stunning version, with various meats presented in many cauldrons, the clay pots that are just as characteristic of the dish as the dish itself, and which lend an earthy taste to the food. A feijoada includes everything your mother ever told you to trim from a piece of meat and move to the side of your plate. This is a dish of bold temptation and prompt surrender for carnivores. It’s hard to eat with much finesse around glistening pounds of pork butt, ham hocks, pig’s ears, and carne seca (dried meat). And that’s one of the things I love most about this dish: you can see into people’s inner personalities when they eat it.” -Chef Leticia Moreinos SchwartzRecipe excerpted from My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook by Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz. Click here to purchase your own copy.
If you have a leftover ham bone in the freezer, you can use it and speed up the cooking time to just 45 minutes. If you have the time to cook the broth from the hocks, however, that’s best. The flavor the hocks impart is just incredible. Recipe courtesy of David Venable, host of QVC's cooking show In the Kitchen with David.
For authenticity, Eric recommends using Cajun andouille, a pork-based sausage that is fatty and heavily smoked but not heavily spiced. LaPlace, La., has declared itself the andouille capital, hosting an annual festival every October, but when Eric returns to his family’s home in Los Angeles to host their annual gumbo gathering, he frequents Pete’s Louisiana Style Hot Links in Crenshaw. Says Eric, "We have to buy extra to make sure that there is enough left after everybody snacks on them." If none are available, any smoked pork sausage will work.
Down in New Orleans, everyone claims to have a gumbo recipe that’s "the best ever." Well, I’ve got mine, too. Here it is. I learned the technique for making chicken gumbo 25 years ago, while working at K-Paul's in the French Quarter. The addition of the ham hock is something I came up with when we opened Town Hall. It adds body, richness, and a slightly smoky flavor. (If you can’t find a ham hock, just double the amount of andouille sausage.) Making gumbo is an example of what I call a long-term relationship recipe. Not only do you have to find your way with it over time, but, let’s face it, making gumbo takes a while. So think of this dish as an opportunity to cook for a group of your friends and get everyone involved. Simply put, gumbo is the perfect party dish. If you are on your own, gumbo, like most soups and stews, matures with time, so preparing it early in the morning or even a day in advance will only make it better.
A good gumbo demands a good roux, and making a good roux is an art. First, it helps to have the right tools. For the amount of roux this recipe requires, you need a cast-iron pan eight to 10 inches in diameter. That’s the perfect size for the amount of flour and oil you are going to use. Also, let’s be honest here: When you make a roux, you need to be careful. If it gets on your skin, it is going to burn. They don’t call it Cajun napalm for nothing.
Click here to see the Town Hall Spice Mixture Recipe.
Click here to see the Celebrate Mardi Gras at Home story.