- Add salt, pepper, water and ham hock to a pot and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add rinsed beans and continue to simmer on medium. Add more water if necessary.
- Once ham hock is tender and beginning to fall apart, pull out of the beans and let cool until able to handle.
- Add tomatoes to beans. Continue to simmer.
- Pull the smoked skin off the hock. Chop skin and put back into beans.*
- Pull the meat off the bones of the hock and chop into small, bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Once beans are fully cooked and tender, add freshly chopped thyme, ham hock meat and vinegar. Simmer for a few more minutes. Stir minimally as so to not break up the meat pieces.
- Taste and adjust for salt and pepper as needed.
Makes 4 or 5 servings as a main course. Serve hot with crusty bread.
Optional: Top with extra chopped herbs or diced green onions.
*Adding the chopped skin will help create an extra silky and smokey sauce. The more vigorous the boil the thicker the stew will be as the beans begin to breakdown.