Ham Hock & Bean Soup

Ham Hock Soup, Kitchen to Table, Yamba

At this time of year, I love having something bubbling away gently on the stove in the afternoon filling the house with delicious aromas. This is a fantastic meal on a cold day as it is hearty and warming … the smoked ham hock gently flavours the soup along with a couple of spices including fennel and smoked paprika. Serve with some buttered toast for a satisfying meal.

Serves 6
1 smoked ham hock
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely diced. Reserve the leaves, roughly chop and add at the end of cooking
2 carrots, finely diced
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed lightly in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to season
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can (440g) whole tomatoes
500ml chicken stock
2 cans (440g) butter beans
50ml maple syrup
50ml apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp chopped parsley

To serve:
buttered toast
wedges of lemon

Method:

  1. Heat a casserole over medium heat and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil along with the onions and garlic and a generous pinch or two of salt and allow to cook gently for 5 minutes or so.
  2. Add the celery and carrots and sautè for another 5 minutes. (I find popping the lid on helps the vegetables to cook nicely as the heat gets trapped in the pan).
  3. Next add the fennel, smoked paprika and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and cook for a minute, then add the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
  4. Now add the ham hock, the can of tomatoes, crush the whole tomatoes in your hand before adding to the pot, along with the chicken stock (use some of the stock to rinse the can of tomatoes and add to the pot), the butter beans including their liquid, and the maple syrup and vinegar. Bring to the simmer, pop the lid on, and cook for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. When tender, remove the ham hock from the pot and transfer to a plate. Shred the meat from the bone and return it to the soup. Discard the bone and excess fat and skin from the hock.
  5. If you would like a thicker consistency continue to simmer the soup, lid off, for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until thickened to your liking.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir through the reserved celery leaves and chopped parsley.
  7. Ladle into bowls and serve with buttered toast and a wedge of lemon.

Notes:

  • This soup tastes even better the next day
  • Also freezes well
  • Try the smoked ham hock from Mirrabooka Pork, locally raised pork from Lawrence, not far from Yamba. You will find them at the Yamba Farmers Market every Wednesday morning (Whiting Beach car park).

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