So, in a large stock pot I put in the ham bone, the ham hocks and covered all with water. To that I added in 2 large bay leaves, 1 tsp. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns. The stock simmered away for about 3 hours.
Covered for the first 2 hours and uncovered for the last hour to allow a concentration of flavors.
While the stock was simmering, I prepared the following:
1 medium sweet onion - small dice
2 cloves of garlic - finely diced
1 bag of 15 bean Mexican soup mix - rinsed the beans
When the stock was ready, it was strained into another stock pot. Back to the original stock pot a touch of olive oil was added and over medium heat the onion and garlic was sauteed until the onion was translucent.
The stock was added to that pot along with the rinsed beans.
Next I pulled what ham I could off of the bone and the ham hocks and added it to the stock along with 1 tsp. granulated garlic, 2 good pinches of cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp. of a Cajun Rub I had made from spices in my cupboard. You could purchase a pre-made Cajun Rub or create one from your spice pantry.
After the soup cooked and the beans were soft it was tasted for salt and pepper and for heat. We decided to kick it up a notch and put a few drops of hot sauce in it.
This recipe is another way of making your food dollars stretch and make a left over make over meal. My family loved it and hopefully yours will love it also.