Red beans in smoked ham hock stew

One of my mom’s favorite stews. Made often when I was a child. The beans were always fresh and everything that went into the stew was locally grown. My mom would not use any meat in her version, but you wouldn’t miss it. This one has smokey flavor from the smoked ham hock. This dish requires planning, you must soak your beans in fresh water over night.

Canned beans are very expensive in the Caribbean, but fresh beans are cheap and plentiful. This can be done in the pressure cooker, as mom often did, but to me it’s a dish you cook low and slow on the stove top, in your cast iron pot on a weekend while you relax at home.


  • 300g red kidney beans
  • Water
  • 2 cups Vegetable broth
  • Green onions
  • 1/2 Brown onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 medium green capsicum
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 diced Carrots
  • 1 Red chili
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 smoked ham hock

Dumplings, potato, green bananas


Wash your beans, place them in a container with a lid, and cover your beans in fresh tap water. Seal with the lid and leave on the counter to soak over 24 hours. This will help the beans cook tender, quicker. This process also makes the finished product easier to digest.

Once your beans have been soaked over 24 hours, drain the water. Place the beans aside for later.

Boil your ham hock
In your pot, place the ham hock in enough water to cover it. Ham hock can be salty, depends on where it’s made, this step will help you to gauge saltiness. Boil Low and slow for 45 minutes, simmer your ham hock. Once the hock is boiled, taste the broth for salt. If it’s very salty, dump the broth and continue to boil the ham hock in fresh water. If it’s not too salty, you have broth to start adding ingredients to. Place the ham hock aside for later.

Saute’ your onions, carrots, garlic and herbs. Once soft, add your ham hock broth and get that mixture to simmer. Once simmering, add your soaked beans. Stir occasionally, these beans will take an hour to cook on low.

Shred your ham hock and set aside to add later.

After an hour, test your beans, they should be soft. Add your vegetable broth and vegetables of choice ( potato, pumpkin, green bananas).

Make your dumplins and add them to your stew.

Reintroduce the shredded ham, and taste for salt. Add your sugar for depth.

Adding the coconut milk

If you add it to early, the flavor gets cooked out. Coconut milk should be added at the end.

This stew is usually served with rice, but it’s a meal all on its own without rice.

Easily made vegan my leaving out the ham hock.

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