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Smoked Ham Hock and pea soup

By January 22, 2016 , , , ,

It’s amazing how recipes come about, this one in particular was due to me not paying attention in the butchers. When I say “not paying attention” it was a small matter of going in to buy one thing and getting distracted by something else.  Happens a lot to me, went in to a local shop a couple of weeks back to buy a bottle of wine and came back with two bottles of whisky instead.

In this particular case it was me going in to buy a ham hock at the butchers, in particular, one which was already cured and smoked. As I was queuing in the butchers (which you do here in the Netherlands) I spotted said ham hock, but from my distance from the counter I couldn’t discern if it was smoked or cured. I finally got the the front of the queue and as I was about to address the butcher I spotted one of his colleagues taking out a big fat rib of beef from the fridge for another customer.  Distractedly I pointed at the ham hock and ordered it and paid more attention to getting a nice cote de boeuf for the bbq.

On arriving home I found the ham hock was neither cured nor smoked. Which to be honest, was a good thing as I could make sure that it was cured and smoked as I like it. Here in the Netherlands hams (and hocks) can often be very salty and over smoked, this way I could control the levels. For those of you wishing to make this recipe, you can skip the curing and smoking bit if you like.

Without further ado here’s my smoked ham hock and pea soup

If you are planning on curing and smoking the ham hock yourself then give yourself at least 2 - 3 days to make this soup

For the cure
30g salt to 1 kg of meat, rub all over the hock and vacuum pack
Place in the fridge for 24 hours
After 24 hours, remove from the vacuum pack and rinse off the excess salt
Place in the fridge uncovered and allow to air dry for at least 24 hours

For smoking – I used a mixture of apple and hickory smoking dust and cold smoked it for 2 hours to give a light smoky flavour. If you prefer yours a tad stronger then give it a bit longer in the smoker.
I used my Big Green Egg to cold smoke, but you can use a stove top, weber or whatever smoker you want to use.

To make the stock
1kg ham hock
1 onion quartered
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
2 cloves
1 carrot roughly cut
1 leek roughly cut
3 cloves garlic bruised to release the oils
Place the above ingredients in a pan and cover with water
Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 hours
After 3 hours, remove the ham hock and strain the stock, reserve 2 litres of the stock to make the soup

For the soup
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
2 potatoes thinly sliced
700g ham hock meat, remove the fat, skin and bone
400g frozen peas or fresh garden peas when in season
2 litres of stock
2 sprigs of thyme finely chopped

Sauté the onion and garlic until soft
Add all the ingredients except the peas and bring to the boil, then lowering the heat simmer for 20 minutes
Add the peas and simmer for another 5 minutes
Once cooked place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth
Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or a drizzle of mint oil.


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