You know those dinners that simmer for hours and make the whole house smell amazing? The ones that cause people to say “What are you cooking?!” the second they walk in the door? This simple combination of ham hocks, green beans, and potatoes is one of those.
I grew up near the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where this creatively named recipe (I dare you to guess what’s in it!) was a mainstay. Ham, green beans, and potatoes (or as I lovingly refer to it—HGP) was one of my favorite childhood meals. Any time I’d come home from school to smell it wafting through the house, I felt like all was well with the world.
It wasn’t until I headed west that I realized this gem of a dish is not a staple in every part of the country. To help correct that, I am sharing this simple and delicious meal with you all. This could not be any easier to make, and I promise your family will love you when you serve it, especially when the weather starts to cool down in the coming months.
This easy recipe cooks up in one big crockpot (or soup pot), and it only requires three ingredients. ONLY 3 INGREDIENTS — Ham hocks, potatoes, and green beans.
You’d never guess there were so few ingredients given the amazingly salty, smoky, hammy flavor of the broth; but the flavor is simply the result of the ham hocks cooking low and slow in water.
The trickiest part about making HGP is finding the right kind of ham hock. Some grocery stores sell ham hocks that are mostly bone and fat, which will result in flavorful broth, but hardly any meat to consume. You want to look for a meaty ham hock. Good ham hocks should be readily available in farm-rich places, but if you live in a really urban area they might be harder to come by.
I managed to find some good ham hock (boneless even!) at H.E.B. here in Houston, and I’ve had luck at other large grocery store chains as well. If you’re having trouble finding a quality ham hock where you live, you can always ask a friendly butcher for some advice.
I cook my HGP in a slow cooker, so I wrote the recipe accordingly, but you can easily make this in a big soup pot or dutch oven on the stove as well. You’ll just want to cut the cooking time by about half since the stove simmering process takes less time.