TO PREPARE: Soak bean mix in water to cover, 8 hours or overnight. In a large soup pot, bring 2 litres water and ham hock to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove ham hock. Stir in soaked beans, salt, pepper, tomatoes, chilli powder, onion and garlic. Bring to the boil again, skimming foam off the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour, until beans are tender.
It is important with some beans, especially red kidney beans, that after soaking they are boiled rapidly for 10 minutes to destroy any toxins making them safe to eat. Also I wouldn't add salt to the cooking water as it can toughen the outside of the beans and prevent them from cooking properly, the same goes for the tomatoes or any acid fruits, wait until the pluses/beans have softened before adding them as they toughen the skins. Otherwise this is a lovely idea for a practical present. - 14 May 2009
Good basic recipe. I boiled the beans in 2 litres of chicken stock for just under an hour. Then I added the tomatoes, onion, garlic, 6 chicken sausages (didn't have/want a ham), cumin, dried chilli flakes and steak seasoning and simmered for 30 minutes. Definitely something to consider for holiday giving. But I will add extra seasoning to the gift package (separated from the beans of course since you have to soak them). - 15 Sep 2008