This recipe takes a little bit more effort than our normal recipes but is really worth it! Using ham hock is a cheap way of making great meaty stock and makes a wonderful filling winter soup. To bulk up the soup we used ‘soup mix’ from Waitrose which is a mixture of dried pulses and grains. If you can’t get this, we recommend using a mixture of pearl barley, lentils or any dried pulses you have. Soak them overnight if necessary (check the packet for instructions). The instructions for soup mix recommend cooking it for 35 -40 minutes. We found this wasn’t quite long enough so check that beans are almost cooked before you add your final lot of vegetables. Alternatively you can use tinned beans – add these for the final few minutes of cooking the soup as you only need to reheat them.
For a large pot of soup you will need:
- 1 ham hock
- 8 sticks of celery (4 left whole, 4 chopped into 1 cm cubes)
- 3 cloves of garlic left whole
- 1 onion chopped in chunks
- 1 large handful of parsley (stems included)
- 250 g soup mix (or mixed beans, grains & pulses)
- 4 carrots chopped into 1cm cubes
- 6 medium-sized potatoes chopped into 1 cm cubes.
- 1 handful of frozen peas
Soak the ham hock overnight in water. When ready to cook, put the hock in a large saucepan (our soup pot has a capacity of 5 L) and cover it completely with fresh water. Add 4 whole sticks of celery, the garlic, onion and parsley. Bring the water to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer it for about 2 and a half hours, topping up with boiling water to keep the hock submerged.
Remove the ham and set it to one side. Strain the stock to remove the vegetables (discard these vegetables). Put the stock back in the pan and add the soup mix. Cook until the soup mix is almost tender then add in the chopped carrots and potatoes. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
In parallel, remove the meat from the bone and chop into bite sized chunks. Add the chopped ham and the frozen peas back into the soup and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.
This keeps well for a few days in the fridge and is also suitable for freezing – keep some for later!
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