Smoked Ham Hock & Vegetable Soup
2 smoked ham hocks
1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock or vegetable stock
200g Jerusalem artichokes
200g celeriac root
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, very finely diced
6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
¼ savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
200g frozen or fresh peas
2 zucchini (courgettes), diced
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
Place the ham hocks in a large saucepan and cover with the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1½–2 hours, or until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone.
Remove the ham hocks from the stock and place them on a tray, allowing them to cool slightly. Strain the stock and set aside.
When the hocks are cool enough to handle, pick the meat off the bones. Discard the bones and any fat, reserving the meat.
Peel the Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac and pumpkin. Cut them into 1 cm (½ inch) dice and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, without colouring, for 10 minutes, or until both are very tender.
Add the artichokes, celeriac and pumpkin and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.
Add the reserved ham hock stock and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Now add the ham hock meat, cabbage, peas and zucchini. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, or until the peas are tender, then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Just before serving, stir in the tarragon.
Serve the soup with a rustic baguette.
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