Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vegetable Farm Soup with Ham Hocks


This home made soup is definitely a meal and is very comforting. It is healthy, cheap and simple to make. After a day or two in the fridge the flavour improves. If you make up a large stockpot full it is good to freeze in individual serves. It would be great to take to the office for lunch and reheat in the microwave as it thaws and reheats well. The delicious aromour will have fellow workers checking you out!

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 tblsp Olive Oil
All vegetables need to be washed, peeled and diced:
3-4 onions (one can be a salade onion - little sweeter), 4 carrots, 1 parsnip, 1 swede, 2 turnip, 2 - 3 small pontiac potatoes (hold shape) and 1/2 bunch celery
1 liter chicken stock - home made is best
3 bay leaves, 6 whole black peppercorns
2 smoked dry cured bacon/ham hocks
Water to cover vegetables plus about 2 inches more
1 can tomatoe puree or chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup pearl barley

Method:
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, then add the onion and sauté over low to medium heat until onion clear but not brown. Add the carrot, parsnip, swede, turnip and celery. Sauté for a couple of minutes more to sweat the vegetables mixing with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and heat until starting to bubble then add the bayleaves and peppercorns. Add the bacon hocks and submerge then add enough water to cover to about 2 inches above the vegetables. Add the can of tomatoes puree and barley and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave uncovered and simmer for about 2 to 2 and a 1/2 hours or until bacon meat is so tender it falls off the bone. Turn off heat and taste - add salt and pepper to taste add salt & pepper to taste. Allow to cool, remove bacon bones and skin and discard (or give to dogs) and break up bacon meat to return to soup. Refrigerate overnight. Next day remove any fats that have solidified. Reheat portion to serve and freeze remainder. Serve hot with buttered bread or rolls!
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