Place the red beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Alternately, you could bring the beans and water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse before using.
Place the soaked beans into a large pot, and cover with 1/2 inch of water. Stir in the onion, garlic, bay leaf, crab boil, celery salt, and red pepper flakes. Nestle the smoked ham hock deep into the beans. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans are mostly tender, about 1 hour.
Uncover the beans, remove the ham hock, and stir well. Add the tomatoes, if using. Place the pork chops into the pot and cover with beans. Increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the pork chops are no longer pink in the center, the beans are completely tender, and the mixture has thickened a bit, about 20 minutes.
While the pork chops are cooking, remove the meat from the ham hock and shred into bite sized pieces. Stir the ham hock meat into the beans and season with salt and pepper before serving.
You can use bacon, ham bone, or ham hock for the seasoning. Substitute 1 pound of sausage for the pork chops, if you prefer.
Unsoaked red beans may be cooked in the pressure cooker, eliminating the need to soak. Simply place the dry beans and the other ingredients except tomatoes used in step 2 into a pressure cooker, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. After removing the lid of the pressure cooker, proceed with step 3 as normal.
Acidic ingredients like tomatoes can keep beans from softening during cooking. If you cook the beans in a pressure cooker, omit the tomatoes and add them when you cook the pork chops.
Per Serving: 669 calories;18.9 g fat;
75.9 g carbohydrates;
50.9 g protein;
72 mg cholesterol;
622 mg sodium.