This savory pork and bean dish is irresistible served with corn bread and a salad.
Rinse beans. In a 4-1/2-quart Dutch oven, combine the beans and 8 cups of water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or omit simmering and soak beans in cold water overnight in a covered pan.)
Drain and rinse the beans. In the same pan, combine beans, 4 cups fresh water, the pork hock, the 1 large onion, and the pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1-1/4 to to 1-3/4 hours or until the beans are tender and beginning to split.* Remove from heat.
Remove pork hock; cool slightly. Trim off meat; chop. Return meat to bean mixture. Heat through. Add salt to taste if pork hock isn't very salty. Serve topped with additional chopped onion, if you like. Makes 6 servings.
Check beans occasionally during cooking. Add more water, if necessary. Or boil gently, uncovered, for a few minutes at end of cooking time, if there's too much liquid. Beans should be moist, but not runny.