Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ham Hock Soup

This is one of those recipes that brings back memories for me.  I don't know where my mom got the recipe but she used to make it and the smell filled the house.  I guess I was longing for those familiar smells, and memories of growing up with my mom making the soup.  I found myself wanting my own kids to have those kind of memories and maybe repeating the process when they become mothers.  That's a lot to expect from some dried pinto beans and a ham hock. This soup takes some time.  I suppose you could speed up the process by using canned beans....but that's not how I remember this soup.
 I made mine the way my mom made hers. 

Start with 1 lb of dried Pinto Beans. 
Rinse the beans and cover them with
several inches of water in a large stock pot overnight.
The beans will soak up quite a bit of water so be sure you have plenty of water in the pot. In the morning drain and rinse the beans. Cover the beans with water and be sure to pick out any floating beans or skins.  Then put the ham hocks in the pot.  I used 2 of them.  Make sure you have enough water in the pot to cover the ham hocks.
I then added about 1/4 C. Dehydrated Onion
 and about 3 T. Minced Garlic.
Put a lid on the pot, bring the beans to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.  At the end of the 2 hours the beans should be soft.  If they are not soft then just simmer a little longer until they become soft.  Remove the ham hocks from the pot and separate off the meat from the fat and bone.
Put the meat back into the pot with the beans.
Chop 4 carrots and 6 potatoes and add to the pot. At this point I also added about 5-6 shakes of Tabasco and a little black pepper.  No salt was needed because the ham added enough on its own.
At this point I debated adding a can of green chilies.  I did not do it since I wanted to stay true to my mom's recipe - but I think I will do the green chilies the next time I make this.
Put the lid back on and simmer until vegetables are cooked.
Once done you can use a slurry of cornstarch and cold water to tighten up that broth into the consistency you want for your soup.  Some people like it thick and some like a lot of broth.
Looks good...right?

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