Harris Ranch Beans|
Makes approximately 3 gallons of beans
Pick over beans for stones and stems and wash several times in cold water before putting into a 16 to 20 quart kettle. Add lukewarm water to cover the beans and allow to soak overnight. This extra preparation step effectively 'de-gasses' the beans. If you elect to skip this step, be sure to leave small containers of wooden matches lying about for the boys to use. After beans and a few beers, they can always be counted on to hold a "Blue Flame" contest.
Drain the soak water from the beans, and rinse several times in cold water. Remove any beans that appear off-color or mal-formed.
Fill the pot with cold water to cover four to five times above the volume of the beans. Add smoked Ham Hocks -- the skin has the flavor -- and bring to a mild boil for approximately three hours.
When beans are beginning to soften, add the green and dried red chiles. Note that the green Anaheim chiles are more easily peeled and seeded when they have been roasted over an open flame, to the point that the outer skin has begun to char. Once roasted, it's a simple matter to remove the skin by scraping with a sharp knife then slice the chile open lenghtwise, removing the seeds and scraping away the white veins.
The salt should be added at the very last stage of cooking. If beans are to be refrigerated and reheated later for serving, do not add salt until they are reheated. This will keep the beans firm and keep them from becoming too mushy.
Be sure to remove the chile pod remnants from the beans before serving. The ham hock meat can be cut up and mixed back into the beans, but it's best to not leave the whole hocks in the serving container as it will surely leave hungry guests to fight over them.