Move over minestrone this is my new winter “go to” soup.
Ham hock gives mild, cauliflower the boost it needs to make this delicious soup substantial and full of flavour. I buy whole nutmegs which look like small balls of wood the size of a red grape. Keep nutmegs in a sealed jar and grate fresh as required on a micro plane or for those who love all the gadgets, a nutmeg grater. The aroma and taste of fresh nutmeg makes a difference and only a small amount is needed.
Cooks note: mise en place: a French cooking term, meaning, have everything in its place. This helps to keep an organised kitchen and an unflustered cook. Preparing all ingredients first, taking out the equipment you need and reading through a recipe will make cooking relaxing and fun as it should be. Put on some music, try and keep the bench space tidy and there will be less cleaning up at the end.
Ingredients: for the stock
1 ham hock
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 pieces of celery, leaves included, washed and roughly chopped
2 carrots, washed, ends removed and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 cup Italian parsley washed
Place all ingredients into a large saucepan, cover with 1.5 litres water.
Bring stock to a boil on the stove top and reduce to a simmer with the lid on.
Simmer for 4 hours.
Remove from stove and drain soup through a colander into a large bowl. Keep stock for the soup.
Cut the meat off the hock and reserve until later.
Discard the bone, hock outer layer and vegetables.
Ingredients for the soup:
I cauliflower, leaves removed, washed and chopped
1/2 brown onion peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 leeks, washed, green tops and roots removed, finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 litres ham hock stock
Meat from stock
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh nutmeg or pre grated nutmeg to serve
Pecorino chees to serve
Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat and sauté the onion, leeks and garlic 3-4 minutes.
Add cauliflower, ham hock stock and seasoning.
Remove from the heat.
Blend soup with a stick mixer in the pot.
Ladle soup into bowls, divide meat between bowls.
Grate nutmeg and pecorino cheese on top.
X 70’s girl