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.