Spicy Amber Ale Beans

adapted from Sunset Magazine, January 2016

1 lb dried pinto beans
1 ham hock (about 11/2 lbs.)
1 bottle Amber Ale (I used Longboard Big Wave Golden Ale)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
3 slices of thick bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed, then chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 Tbsp dried Mexican oregano
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
Kosher salt

Garnish
4 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
sour cream 

Sort and rinse beans.  Place beans in a heavy Dutch oven.  Add enough water to cover by three inches.  Bring to a boil.  Boil two minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand for one hour. Drain beans and put in a slow cooker.

Add the ham hock, beer and chicken stock to the slow cooker.  The beans should be just covered with liquid.  Add water if needed.  Set the slow cooker to low.

In a medium frying pan, toast the chile powder and the cumin until fragrant, bout 30 seconds.  Scrape the spices into the slow cooker and cover.

Cut the bacon crosswise into quarter inch strips. In the same frying pan, cook the pieces of bacon until crisp.  Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.  Set aside.  Drain all but about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of drippings from the pan.  Add the diced onion and chopped jalapeño.  Cook until the onion is light brown.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, a few seconds.  Mix the bacon and oregano into the onion mixture.  Stir and add the mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the can of diced tomatoes.  Cover and cook until the beans are tender about 6 to 8 hours.

Remove the ham hock to a plate and using two forks shred the meat from the bone.  You may put the shredded ham back into the slow cooker or you may set it aside.  Set the slow cooker to high without the lid.  Reduce the liquid to your desired thickness.  Season with salt.

Serve the beans in bowls topped with shredded ham (unless you elected to mix it back into the beans), a dollop of sour cream, and the chopped green onions and cilantro.