With the temperature starting to dip, Le Creuset that had been hidden away above the kitchen cabinets had started to make an appearance again.
Winters are truly the perfect months for soups & stews; warming, hearty, cosy... not only do they offer flavour but there’s a homeliness associated to soups & stews that draws out an emotional reaction.
I personally have a huge fondness for soups; never too challenging to prepare, may require lots of chopping though the ingredients are likely to all end up in a single pot. Left to simmer & cook, only needing the occasional stir to avoid getting the ingredients burnt to the pan... soups are pretty fail safe and unlikely to ruin!! Besides, they keep well in the fridge & their flavour enhances over time!
This particular soup has Scottish roots -a childhood fave that my partner has shared with m - a chunky vegetable broth enriched by the smoky saltiness of ham hock, simple yet bursting with earthy flavours from the combination of different root vegetables.
Winter Veg + Ham Hock Soup
3 x Potatoes
3 x Large Carrots
2 x Large Leeks
1 x White Onion
2 x Cloves of Garlic
1 x Small Turnip
2 x Tins of Butter Beans
1 x Broccoli
1 x Smoked Ham Hock
1. Roughly dice the onions & garlic + slice leeks about 1cm thick.
2. Heat a generous knob of butter in your Le Creuset or any deep stewing dish. Once soft, add all the ingredients above in Step 1, mix it through & let them sweat in the butter.
3. Grate 2 x carrots, 2 x potatoes & half turnip, roughly chop the remainder. Add it all into the pot of cooking ingredients and mix in well.
4. Boil water and fill the dish until the ingredients are covered. Add the ham hock, making sure that it’s fully submerged in the water.
5. Turn the heat up and once the soup begins to boil, bring it down to a simmer.
6. Cover the pan with a lid & let it simmer at low heat for 2 hours, stirring and checking it regularly to ensure that the ingredients are not burnt at the bottom.
7. At 1.5 hours, remove the ham hock (it should have softened, if not, simmer for a bit more), set it aside to cool.
8. At the same time, break the broccoli into florets and add them into the soup. Drain the butter beans and mix them in too.
9. When it’s cool enough to handle, shred the amount of ham hock you would like to add and stir in with the broth to warm it up. Set the remainder aside as it can be used for other recipes (sandwiches, salads, omelettes...)
10. Serve with toasted bread or crusty baguette
Hongyi the yogi
Full-time yoga teacher & trainee yoga therapist in London. Eager to share, eager to learn!