Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Smoky Winter Warmer

We're well onto the final month of winter now. Have to grab every opportunity to indulge in cold weather comfort foods while scarves and coats remain necessary attire for the evening journey home around the city's train platforms and tram stops. For us tonight, it's smoked ham, bean and vegetable soup...and not courtesy of Campbell's.

I wasn't able to resist the purchase of a whole smoked ham hock from our favourite Queen Vic Market deli over the weekend. There was a bunch of them hanging over our heads as we pondered over cheeses, beckoning...beckoning. Anyway, to acompany it in the largest pot in our kitchen were sliced onion and garlic sweated in light olive oil, a shake of paprika, cubed potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celery, sprigs of fresh thyme, a can of diced tomatoes, a couple of fistfuls of legumous soup mix (assorted beans and lentils) soaked and softened overnight, and water enough to submerse the lot. Extract the ham after simmering for a couple of hours, remove the skin (we couldn't help dicing up a little for extra decadence) and slice off the meltingly tender and pink meat from the bone to return to the pot. A final swirl and it was served garnished with a sparing dollop of cream (or perhaps Greek yoghurt if you must), finely chopped spring onion and parsley, and an optional pinch of dried chilli flakes. Hardly any seasoning required, perhaps a pinch of salt and a couple of cracks of black pepper. The hock was enough to impart plenty of robust flavour. In fact before use, I'd pre-rinsed it in plenty of cold water brought to a rolling boil for five or so minutes to temper possible over saltiness and smokiness.

Supped while steaming hot with warm crusty buttered bread. Healthier than a Cuban stogie. Perhaps.


thanh7580 said...

Hi Towser, welcome firstly to the Melbourne Blogging Scene. I like your suggestions for the oyster recipes. I just bought a packet of miso so I can try that. As for mirin, I will have to try and find a place that sells that.

Towser said...

Thanks thanh, hope people would appreciate yet another perpective on the local food scene. As for mirin, it's freely available from the ethnic section of most supermarkets these days, and definitely from any asian grocery store.

IronEaters said...

wow..the soup looks so good. how can u resist a bowl of hot soup during winter? *blissful*

Towser said...

Welcome Ironeaters! Yes the soup was indeed very hearty and delicious, especially for when it's cold and wet outside. It was the first time we've tried using a whole smoked ham hock which was an easy way to get lots of flavour. The meat was surprisingly tender too...yum.