Showing posts with label soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soup. Show all posts

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I'm Free - Ham Hock Soup Recipe

Now that we have finally made it to the end of the indulgent, rich Christmas foods, this bloggers thoughts have been turning towards hearty, frugal cooking. The butchers closest to me in Cardiff, Rees Family Butchers, sometimes have ham hocks available for the grand old price of £2.50 (they also do fantastic pies and often have duck eggs).

I regularly take advantage of these budget cuts and have a few recipes in the toolbag that make the most of this tasty meat, normally stretching the cut to 4 portions, but this super simple, hearty soup feeds 6 or so depending how greedy you are feeling.

Ham hock soup
Ham hock pasta soup
To serve, a little grated Parmesan on top is an excellent garnish. In fact if you have a parmesan rind available throw that in at step 3 with the rest of the ingredients. I like to serve with a chunk of crusty bread and a wedge of cheddar cheese.

Hearty ham hock soup (6 greedy portions)
  • Ham hock - 1
  • Carrots - 4 or 5 depending on size
  • Onions - 2 medium
  • Celery - 4 sticks
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Star anise
  • White wine (optional) - 1 glass
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Small shape pasta - A couple of handfuls (orzo works best as it stays firm but spaghetti snapped into pieces or macaroni would do)
  • Chicken stock - 500ml
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Butter
  1. Rinse the ham hock thoroughly or stand in water overnight to reduce the saltiness. Place the meat in a large pan, cover with water. Halve one of the onions, cut 2 of the carrots and 2 of the celery sticks into large pieces and add to the pan with the bay leaves, star anise and a few whole peppercorns. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and leave simmering for a couple of hours. Skim off any scum that rises to the top of the water.
  2. Once cooked drain the meat retaining the cooking water for the soup. Once cool enough, I like to remove the skin and hack into the meat helping it to cool a little quicker so that I can get on with the soup. Once the joint is cool enough to handle, retrieve all the meat, cutting into smallish pieces.
  3. Finely chop the remaining veggies and cook in a little butter until soft, about 10 minutes should do it. Return the meat to the pan, add the wine first, letting it cook off  little, then add the tomatoes, chicken stock and a couple of ladles of the ham stock.
  4. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes then check your seasoning.
  5. When you are happy add your pasta. Note that Orzo has a longer cooking time so adjust accordingly.
    • If you are eating straightaway, leave to simmer until the pasta is just cooked.
    • If like me, you are cooking up a batch for the week or the freezer, just bring back to the boil then turn off the heat and let the whole batch cool.
  6. You may find that the soup has thickened up a little too much at this point, just add some water or more of the ham stock taking care that you don't end up over-seasoning the food.
  7. Shredded ham hock and the soup base
    Shredded ham hock and the soup base

Monday, 18 June 2012

The One Mile Bakery - Week 4 (the grand finale)

So we've made it to week four and this was the final delivery of my month long subscription of soup and bread from The One Mile Bakery.

This was the delivery this week and like last week's wonderful Harira, this felt like it could have been made just for me!

Le menu:

  • Chicken mulligatawny with spring onions, parsley, chilli and peanuts
  • Potato and honey sourdough
 Apparently mulligatawny means 'pepper water' in Tamil and this certainly lived up to its name! Beautifully spiced and warming, the addition of the extra chillis and the peanuts gave the soup extra bite and texture. The other standout feature was the generous amount of chicken in the soup, lots and lots of shredded chicken all swimming about in a curried broth with homemade chicken stock - absolutely wonderful.

Chicken mulligatawny from The One Mile Bakery
Chicken mulligatawny soup

 So now the first month is over I've been reflecting on the experience and a few things have occurred to me.
  1. Firstly, and this may sound strange in the context of bread and soup, but participating in the deliveries is really good fun. This is largely down to the unbridled enthusiasm of Elisabeth herself who has been a genuine pleasure to meet. I get a good sense of how busy the bakery has been according to how long she is able to chat on the doorstep and how much flour and dough she is wearing when she arrives! It is also because, beyond sharing your particular likes, dislikes and allergies, the contents of the delivery are a surprise each week which (despite this being paid for) makes it feel like receiving a lovely personalised treat every week.
  2. Although I take real pleasure in cooking, I have enjoyed having an evening off each week that hasn't meant compromising on what I eat and ending up with greasy takeaway food.
  3. It is ridiculously good value. At the current pricing, it works out to £5.50 a week to feed 2 people a nourishing meal, and because the bread is so well made, it easily lasts to the weekend.
  4. Lastly, and this for me is far and away the most important thing. I can eat bread again! I can't even begin to tell you what a joy this is. I adore bread but as I have *ahem* 'matured' over the last few years I have become less and less able to digest shop bought bread but this is not the case here. I can eat this with impunity. I am having bread for breakfast again and for that alone I am very grateful!

Of course we have been able to get both wine and organic vegetables on a subscription basis for years and it makes absolute sense to me that the model can work for other types of food. This looks like a real gap in the market since at the time of writing, and less than a month after the business opened, there are no delivery slots available for Tuesdays and it won't be long before Wednesday is full too. I hear that people are offering to pay extra if they can be squeezed in to the schedule - there's nothing like a 'waiting list' to create a bit of buzz, just ask Herm├Ęs!

This is a great little business run by a genuine food enthusiast, it's always heartwarming when someone is able to take their passion and translate it into their living. If a delivery slot should open up I highly recommend you try some produce from The One Mile Bakery.

And yes, in case you're wondering, I have re-ordered.

You can look back through the previous posts here:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The One Mile Bakery - Week 3

So we are 3 weeks in and the weather has turned again. It is cold, it is grey it is wet. In other words it is Welsh. It is also post extra long bank holiday weekend during which I have consumed my fair share (and probably your share) of beer, wine and whisky. I need nourishment and comfort in a bowl and with that in mind I had a go at 'encouraging' Elisabeth to tell me what was for tea via Twitter but she was having absolutely none of it.

After last week's weather appropriate soup delivery I was hoping for something warming and Elisabeth didn't disappoint.

Le menu:
  • Harira with rose harissa, lemon and parsley
  • Rye, wheat and white sourdough
  • Fig and walnut sourdough

Before the deliveries started I was sent a few questions. What food don't you like? Are you vegetarian? What is your all time favourite soup? I was pathetically unable to limit myself to just one favourite soup but one of my comments was 'I love spice, the more the better!' and if there is such a thing as a food based spice gauntlet (that sounds kind of wrong) then this was it!

Before I start I have to warn you that I absolutely LOVED everything in the bag this week. I know I've been pretty positive about The One Mile Bakery so far, but this week has been the best yet.

We went to Marrakech for a long weekend last year and happened to be there during Ramadan. If you have been the you will know that Ramadan, in Marrakech, in August is no joke; fasting during the long summer days and heat take their tole on the locals. Harira is what most people eat to break the fast which should tell you everything you need to know. As soon as the sun dipped, flasks of harira appeared from under counters, customers were ignored and everything stopped for this soup. Warming, mildly spiced and filling with lentils, chickpeas and vermicelli, the addition of a wonderful, vibrant pink rose harissa took it to a whole new level. A squeeze of lemon and some fresh parsley finished the bowl nicely. Needless to say I had 2 helpings.

There were 2 loaves again this week and we had an exceptionally tasty rye, wheat and white sourdough with the soup. Packed full of flavour this is the kind of bread that works equally well on its own with nothing more than some of the quality salted butter I bought at Riverside Market a couple of weeks ago. I might have been unable to resist munching the crust end of the loaf with butter after my 2 helpings of soup.

The other loaf, a small walnut and fig sourdough I immediately had pegged for cheese and this is how I had it, topped with goats cheese and some fig chutney for tea on Friday and again for lunch on Saturday.

You should be, it was really, really good.

The One Mile Bakery single handedly ruined my diet last week. Thanks Betty.

On to week 4
Back to week 2

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The One Mile Bakery - week 2

Continuing my adventure of soup and sourdough from The One Mile Bakery this was the delivery for week 2, a rare week of glorious May sunshine, not the ideal weather for soup you may say but think again...

Le menu:
  • Spring minestrone with mint and almond pesto
  • Wild garlic loaf
  • Seeded rye sourdugh

Minestrone being the italian version of our Cawl, a whole meal in a bowl with as many varities as there are seasons, I was intrigued to lift the lid on the biodegradeable packaging and see what was in the pot. This spring version was beautifully fresh with green beans, artichoke and peas and pasta shells all bobbing about in a light stock.

As with week 1, the garnish added a whole new dimension, fresh mint freckling the stock and livening up the bowl.

We chose the (locally foraged) wild garlic loaf to go with the soup. This was a plain loaf marbled through with a wild garlic pesto, a subtle, almost sweet flavour that suited the delicate soup well.

The other of the 2 small loaves in the package was a seeded rye sourdough loaf that was as dense and heavy as a brick and made an excellently filling breakfast spread generously with last weeks jam. A thick slice of that kept me happily going until lunchtime and the loaf lasted me all week!

2 deliveries to go...

On to week 3
Back to week 1

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