Things are starting to get a little crazy around here with all of the preparations for our departure. We have started selling off some of our furniture so the place is looking a bit sparse, but at the same time, our real estate agent (who has been fantastic) is bringing prospective tenants through a few times each week. It’s hard to keep the place looking neat and tidy when your TV is sitting on the floor and your books from the now sold book case are stacked up in the spare bedroom. Oh well…that’s life at the moment.
Key’s last day of work is the 20th, the movers are booked for the 24th and we have purchased flexible flights for the 28th that may or may not be brought forward. It’s a mad count down of days around here.
So let’s talk about something more relaxing…like making some ham hock soup! You may think that eating soup in a perpetually hot climate like Singapore’s is crazy, but it’s actually something that we (and the locals) do a lot. To the point where there is a whole casual restaurant chain that is famous for selling mainly soup. Ok, to be fair we are usually eating soup in an air conditioned restaurant or our home, but I don’t want to miss out on soup just because I’m currently living in a climate that doesn’t know what Winter is :)
Using canned lentils and the pressure cooker to cook the ham hock makes the process just that little bit quicker and makes for a more achievable weeknight meal.
Use scissors or a small paring knife (or both) to trim off the skin from the ham hock.
Using the mix of water and chicken stock to cook the ham hock will result in a great flavoured stock base for the soup.
Rinse your canned lentils if they look a bit cloudy. Mine were fine though and didn’t need it.
When the ham hock has 15 minutes of cooking time left, start cooking the veg base. Cooking them low and slow like this will result in nice sweet veggies.
Pour that delicious stock from the pressure cooker into the pot with the veg and lentils.
While that is coming up to the boil, shred all the delicious porky goodness from the ham hock.
You could add some soup pasta into this too to really bulk it out, but served with some bread, this is a very satisfying meal.
Ham Hock Soup with Lentils
Ingredients – Serves 3-4
- 1 smoked ham hock with the skin removed – weighing about 480g
- 3 cups of unsalted chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup of finely diced celery – about 2 long stalks
- ½ cup if finely diced carrot – about 2 carrots
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
- 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar
- 2 cans of lentils, drained
- chervil or parsley to garnish
- In a pressure cooker place the ham hock, bay leaf, stock and 2 cups of water. Bring up to pressure and then cook for 30 minutes.
- When the ham hock has only 15 minutes of cooking time left, add a good splash of olive oil to a heavy based saucepan and heat it over a medium low heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots with a pinch of salt and cook slowly for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the ham hock is done, release the pressure and remove the ham hock and bay leaf.
- Deglaze the saucepan with the vinegar and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom left from cooking the vegetables. Pour all of the stock from the pressure cooker into the saucepan. Add the lentils and then increase the heat to medium to bring up to the boil.
- Meanwhile, shred the ham hock meat from the bone. Remove any large fatty bits and cut the meat into bite sized pieces. Discard the bone.
- Once the stock has boiled, add the ham hock pieces and continue to cook for about 2 minutes or until the meat is hot again.
- Season generously with salt and pepper and serve hot in bowls, garnished with chervil or parsley. Leftovers reheat well.