Louisiana Red Beans

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Preserving Method: Pressure Canning

1. Sort and rinse beans; place beans in a 6 quart stock pot and add water to cover by 2 inches. Add ham hock and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 15 minutes; turn off heat and allow beans and ham hock to soak for 1 hour.
2. Prepare pressure canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready to use, do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set aside with bands.
3. Cook the bacon in a heavy saucepan until fat has rendered. Add andouille sausage and cook until browned on all sides. Remove bacon and sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Add onions, salt and thyme to the fat in the same saucepan and sauté over medium-high heat until onions are golden.
5. Drain beans and ham hock. Add beans, sausage and bacon to onions. Using a sharp knife, cut any remaining meat and skin off ham hock, chop into small pieces and add to the bean mixture. Reheat beans until very hot. Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a small saucepan.
6. Fill a hot jar 3/4 full with hot bean mixture. Place a small bay leaf (or half a bay leaf for pint jars) on top of beans. Ladle hot chicken broth into jar over beans leaving a 1- inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim; center lid on jar and apply band to finger-tip tight. Place jar in pressure canner containing at least 2 inches of simmering water; repeat until all jars are filled.
7. Place lid on canner, and turn to locked position. Adjust heat to medium-high. Vent steam for 10 minutes. Place the counter weight or weighted gauge on vent; bring pressure to 10 pounds (psi) for a weighted-gauge canner or 11 pounds (psi) for a dial-gauge canner, adjusting for altitude.
8. Process 1-pt. jars for 75 minutes or 1-qt. jars for 90 minutes. Turn off heat; cool canner to zero pressure. Let stand 5 more minutes before removing lid. Cool jars in canner 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal, they should not flex when center is pressed.
 
To serve: simmer 10 minutes.