If you have access to ham hocks and not shanks, you may want to make up the difference in meat (hocks have much less meat) with sausage. Just take 1/2 pound of Andouille sausage, slice, brown first before adding to the beans with the ham shanks.
If you do not eat pork, you might try making this with smoked turkey sausage, in which case I would replace some of the water with chicken stock.
- 1 lb dry small red beans
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs meaty ham shanks
- 4 cups water
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons of Cajun or Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere's or Zatarains) or to taste*
- Tabasco sauce**
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked white rice (from about 3 cups raw rice)
*If you don't have access to packaged seasoning, just skip it and add some thyme (fresh or dried), a bay leaf (in with the beans and shanks in step 2), and a little paprika
**We used a combo of Chipotle Tabasco sauce and regular Tabasco, could also use cayenne pepper
1 Soak the beans: Place dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with cold water by a couple of inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. (You can quick soak them by putting them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them, covering them by 2 inches, then letting them soak for two hours.) Drain.
2 Cook beans with ham, garlic, onion, water: Place beans, ham shanks, garlic, chopped onion, and water in a large (8-quart) pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
3 Remove ham shanks, separate meat from bones: Remove ham shanks from the pot to a dish. Let cool slightly then shred the meat away from the bones. Return the meat back to the pot.
4 Add vegetables, seasonings, cook until thick: Add the celery, bell peppers, Worcestershire and seasonings. Cover and cook for another hour or until the mixture gets thick.
Season to taste with Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.
Serve over rice.