Country Ham & Vegetable Soup

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Fun fact: I’m always hungry. How about you? I love the summer months when fresh produce is in season. But, salads and veggies just don’t satisfy my appetite…unless, I turn them into something more filling. Recently when I was especially hungry, I took a look in the frig and didn’t see much besides some cottage cheese and yogurt.

As I was contemplating what to make (a frequent pass-time), I remembered the ham hock in my freezer. Normally a ham hock wouldn’t evoke much inspiration. And then it hit me…what about a rustic soup? That’s when Country Ham & Vegetable Soup came to be. With flavorful ham, hearty vegetables and a light cream base, this soup really hits the spot!

In addition to the ham, freshly harvested summer green beans and red potatoes are  the stars of this recipe. No matter what the season, I hope you will make a pot of my Country Ham & Vegetable Soup so you can enjoy some delicious and satisfying comfort food just like I did!

       


Country Ham & Vegetable Soup

  • Ham hock
  • Water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 6 red potatoes
  • 2 cups  (or ½ pound) green beans
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3-4 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 cups milk or cream
  • 3 T corn starch

Place ham hock in a large pot. Add enough water to just cover the hock. Simmer on medium/high for 1 hour. While ham hock is simmering prepare other ingredients. Peel and chop onion, carrots and garlic. Chop celery. Partially peel and chop red potatoes. Trim ends off green beans and cut in half. Chop parsley finely. Oh, and don’t forget to wash all of these veggies too!

Remove ham hock from water and set aside. Add chicken broth, garlic, veggies, parsley and spices. Stir to combine and simmer until vegetables are tender. Remove cooled ham from the bone and chop. Add ham and spinach to the pot. Stir and continue simmering on low heat.

Using a whisk, mix milk or cream with corn starch until well combined. Stir into soup, adjust spices and simmer until thickened. Serve with a fresh salad and your favorite crusty bread!


Crusty Bread

I like to get a loaf of French, rosemary or garlic artesian bread at my local grocery store. I slice the bread and place on a baking sheet. Then I spread on my favorite butter/olive oil blend and sprinkle with herbes de Provence, coarse salt and parmesan cheese. Place under the broiler until bubbling and warm. Seriously you’ve got to try this since it’s SO delicious!

 


Root Notes

  • If you don’t have a ham hock, you can grab one from the meat department of your local grocery store. Deli ham or crispy bacon would be good substitutes.
  • Feel free to use any type of potato you have on hand. I liked the red potatoes from our local vegetable stand because they were fresh and the consistency was nice in this soup. I washed the dirt off, removed any eyes or bad spots and left some of the peel on the potatoes.
  • If green beans aren’t in season, just use frozen. Obviously fresh are the tastiest!
  • If you don’t have any fresh parsley substitute with 4 teaspoons of dried.
  • I didn’t add any salt to this recipe because the ham is really salty. Feel free to add some if you think it’s needed.
  • Vegetable photos courtesy of pixabay.com!

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