We had these last week and they really were "very nice." Also, they were very easy which is a definite plus. This made a lot more than 8 servings for us but it worked out well as I froze several small portions and sent them to my mother-in-law when my husband visited her last weekend. She prefers to eat her red beans on cornbread instead of rice. Us? We had cornbread too ... on the side. From The Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting Cookbook by Rick Rodgers.
Makes 6-8 servings.
1 pound dried, small red chili beans, rinsed, drained and picked over
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 scallions chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-1/3 cups water
2-2/3 cups double-strength beef broth (I used undiluted Campbell's consomme, of which I had only one can and filled in the rest with chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red hot pepper
1 smoked ham hock (about 9 ounces), skin scored in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife (I had a ham bone left over from Christmas that I had frozen to use in this very recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups hot cooked rice
Chopped scallions, for garnish
In a large pot, combine the beans with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from theheat, cover the pot, and let stand for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 1 hour; drain well. (The beans can also be soaked overnight in a large bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches, then drained --- this is what I did.)
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic. cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a 3-1/2quart slow cooker.
Stir in the drained beans, water, beef broth, and red pepper. Bury the ham hock in the bean mixture. Cover and slow-cook until the beans are veny tender, 9-10 hours on low (200°F).
Remove the ham hock, and pull off and discard the fat and skin. Remove the meat from the bone and coarsely chop. Return the meat to the pot, and stir in the salt. (At this point the beans were cooked but the liquid was quite watery. I prefer my red beans to be of a creamy consistency so I put them in a pot on the stove, mashed some up with a potato masher, and cooked it down for about half an hour ... perfect!)
Serve the beans in bowls, spooned over hot cooked rice, and sprinkled with chopped scallions.