No, you don’t have to soak your beans overnight, but they will take longer to cook if you don’t. We recommend soaking beans the traditional way: Cover dry beans with 10 cups fresh water and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Let soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and pick through before using.
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2 pounds bag dried red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted (soaked overnight)
¼ pound bacon, roughly chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 green onion, white part, save the green for garnish
2 bay leaves
1 large ham hock
2 quarts chicken stock
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
1 tablespoon salt
Hot cooked rice
Hot sauce or vinegar, for serving
Warm a heavy-bottomed 12-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and and cook until fat drippings are rendered, around 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and green onion bottoms, and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add bay leaves.
Drain, rinse and sort soaked red beans; add beans and ham hock to pot. Pour in chicken stock, covering beans. Increase heat to high, and bring mixture to a rolling boil for 10 minutes, skimming off and discarding foam from surface while the beans boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until beans are tender, 3 to 4 hours.
Turn off heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove ham hock and transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Stir in butter, salt and sugar.
Remove meat from ham hocks and chop it, then return it to pot. Serve beans over rice. Garnish with green onion tops and serve with hot sauce or vinegar on the side.