Friday, December 9, 2011

Ham and Cabbage Soup

A simple soup made from a chicken broth base, with leftover baked ham, bacon, a ham hock and cabbage.
A simple soup made from a chicken broth base, with leftover baked ham, bacon, a ham hock and cabbage.

Ham and Cabbage Soup

Soon as Southern fall and winter weather fluctuates from flip-flops back to jackets, I instantly want a good warming soup and I love experimenting with different combinations.

This one came about from having some leftover holiday ham and cabbage that I needed to use up, and knowing I had a frozen ham hock I could use to flavor the soup base. While I bake hams all year, I don't bake them often enough to have a big ham bone available, but smoked pork hocks make such a great flavoring stand-in for a ham bone for soups and beans, that they really should be a freezer staple. They certainly are for me!

There is nothing at all unusual or unique to me about this soup - in fact, with some slight variation in the ingredients, it's pretty common, but it's a nice tasty soup for those of us who enjoy cabbage. Hey - y'all know it must be okay when I can get The Cajun to eat cabbage, and he gobbled down three large bowls of it.

I started with a little bacon for the smokey flavor, added a mirepoix of veggies, a quart of chicken stock and an equal amount of water, threw in a slashed ham hock, and let that simmer for an hour. You can go a little shorter if you have to, but unless you're in a hurry, let it simmer for a full hour to extract all the flavor out of that ham hock. The ham hock flavored this up nicely, so an all water base would probably be fine here too.

After the ham hock has simmered, add in some chopped potatoes, thickly shredded cabbage and seasonings, cover and let it low simmer for another 20 minutes or until the cabbage and potatoes are tender. I decided to chop the potatoes a little more chunky than a dice for this soup, but if you dice yours, be sure to factor that in the time so you don't end up with potato mush. Core and cut the cabbage up into quarters before thickly slicing it to make it more bite-sized. Add a little thyme in at the end, taste and adjust seasonings and serve. This is a very nice soup that I think you'll enjoy.

Here's how to make it.

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Posted by on December 9, 2011

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