Ham and Kale Soup
This is a terrific recipe I found a few years ago, and until now I have restricted making it to Winter, using the Christmas ham bone which I place in the freezer religiously after each Christmas. My beautiful daughter inspired me though shortly after Christmas this year by making this soup (her favourite) in her slow cooker and freezing it in single edible portions in her freezer, for a perfect and nutritious meal to have after work some days, or even for lunch in the air-conditioning. After all, we had Christmas in Cairns so she inherited the ham bone this year.
So I returned home, thinking about that soup which smelled and looked wonderful. Of course I found myself at the local butchers, bought a ham hock and cooked the soup in my old but ongoing and faithful red crock pot, and froze it in double portions. Then it rained cats and dogs yesterday, so the soup was the perfect meal for a rainy day. However, it is light enough to be eaten on a cool evening in the heat of Summer as well.
It is also the perfect way to eat Kale, a vegetable I am not smitten with to be truthful, but which I know is full of the essential healthy vitamins we need. Sharp Parmesan Cheese finishes it off beautifully.
1 smoked ham hock or bone from your Christmas Ham
1 onion, halved
2 sticks celery
1 carrot, sliced
3 garlic cloves
2 parsley stalks, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 leeks. white part only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
400g can cannellini beans, drained
1 bunch kale (about 12 leaves), trimmed and chopped
Shaved Parmesan, to serve
Olive oil, to serve
Let’s make the stock:
Place the ham bone, onion, celery, carrot, garlic and parsley in a large saucepan or slow cooker bowl.
Slow cooker method:
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker bowl and fill the pot with 3 litres of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or on medium for 4 hours. Halfway through the cooking, adjust the ham bone if necessary, so that all of the bone will be cooked and the meat tender by the end. Remove the ham hock and discard the skin. Shred meat and set aside. Strain stock and set aside.
Large saucepan method:
Place all the ingredients in the saucepan and cover with 3 litres of water. Cook, simmering for 30 minutes (use a spoon to skim the surface).
Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, or until meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove the ham hock and discard the skin. Shred meat and set aside. Strain stock and set aside.
Let’s make the soup:
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, leeks, and garlic. Cook, stirring for 4-5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add stock and bring to the boil. Add cannellini beans, kale, and ham hock meat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until kale is tender.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Spoon into soup bowls, top with shaved Parmesan, and drizzle with olive oil.