Who ever said pork and apples make a good combination? Maybe it’s because the tartiness of the fruit cuts through the pork’s fat and the sweetness of a good piece of pork complements the apples. I’ve used the pairing several times before but nothing beats this soup from April Bloomfield, chef of the Spotted Pig.
Our mouths watered when we saw a short clip of this soup from the chef’s cooking class. The Dr. and I raced to see who would cook it first. I won, but only because I stayed in all Sunday afternoon to spend five hours of prep and cooking time. Time well spent, I say, as it yielded six servings for two days.
For ham hock and stock:
3 pieces brined ham hocks
half a gallon apple cider
1 bay leaf
5 medium carrots, diced
2 medium parsnips, diced
8 pieces of small potatoes, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps whole grain mustard
oil, salt, pepper
1. Prepare the ham hock and stock. In large stockpot, combine ham hock and stock ingredients, plus enough water to cover. Simmer for about 3 hours or until meat is falling off bone.
2. Remove ham hock and reserve the broth. Pick meat off the bones with two forks. The meat should come off easily. Set the meat aside. Discard bones.
3. When ready to make the soup, heat some oil in a large Dutch oven. Add garlic, onions, carrots and parsnips and cook under medium-low fire until golden brown and soft, about 40 minutes, to concentrate the flavor.
4. Add salt, potatoes and apples. Cook until potatoes are soft. Add ham hock meat and reserved broth and cook for 20 minutes on low until vegetables are broken down. This will help thicken the soup. Ladle in bowls and top with a dollop of mustard to serve.