This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman/Food Network. I made a couple of small tweaks-- for one, adding some cumin the beans, which I liked. Because I wasn't paying attention, I added all the spices at the same time that I added the vegetables, and the beans turned out great. In fact, there weren't many leftovers.
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com
cups dried pinto beans
whole smoked ham hock (or shank)
cloves garlic, minced
red bell pepper, diced
whole onion, diced
teaspoons chili powder
teaspoons ground black pepper
tsp. cumin (optional)
Rinse the beans under cold water, sorting out any rocks or particles. Place the beans in a stockpot with the ham hock and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the water level is fine. Add more water as needed. Remove the ham hock and remove the meat from the bone. Chop and set aside, discarding any cartilage or extra fat. Throw in the garlic, red bell peppers and onions. Add the chili powder, black pepper, and salt (or more to taste. Cover and continue cooking for another hour or two, remembering to check the water level. Cook until the beans are lovely and tender, another 20 to 30 minutes. Add the shredded ham hock back to the beans. The liquid should be very thick and stew-like, not thin like a soup. Give one final taste, and adjust any seasonings to your liking. TASTING NOTES: Serve with hot sauce, or add 1 finely chopped jalapeno towards the last 20-30 minutes of cooking, if you want a lot more heat!