One thing I miss the most while traveling is cooking!! So when I returned back to Melbourne on a freezing cold winters day after being in the 38ºC heat of Marrakech, I thought this soup would be the perfect winter warmer to get back into the swing of things!
Winter is the perfect time for cooking delicious hearty meals, and when the cold sets in one of the first things I crave is a soup that I imagine my Nanna or Grandma cooking up for me! I like to call it ‘Old Lady Soup’, in the most respectful way of course. If only I could cook as well as some of the Nannas I know!! Now you might think its difficult to make soup without onion? But it really isn’t, there are plenty of ways to add extra flavour. I often like to add lots of different vegetables or herbs and in this particular recipe I’ve added some Massel 7’s chicken stock cubes. If you have time you can always make your own stock first, but these cubes are a good substitute and are onion, garlic, gluten and lactose free which can be difficult to find in a stock otherwise! Another alternative would be to use the vegetable stock from the Sue Shepherd range, but I think with the other ingredients that go into the soup that they generate enough of their own flavour. You’ll need a little bit of time to let the soup simmer away and develop its delicious hearty flavour, so this is the perfect weekend recipe that you can portion out and put in the freezer for lunches during the week or an easy weeknight dinner.
4 medium carrots
1/2 bunch celery
1 large turnip
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup soup mix
1 Ham hock (approx 1.2kg)
2 Massel 7’s Chicken Stock cubes (crushed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Dice the carrots, celery and turnip into small cubes. Alternatively you can grate the vegetable but I prefer diced.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot ensuring its nice and hot, then add all the diced vegetables. Add a pinch of salt and stir well until the vegetables soften trying not to let them brown.
3. Once the vegetables have softened, score the ham hock a few times to help release the flavours and then place in the pot along with the soup mix.
4. Add the water along with the stock cubes and bring to the boil. Once at boiling point lower the heat to a simmer and allow the flavours to develop for around 2 hours. Check the water level every now and then and also remove any white foam that might come to the surface. This is the impurities coming from the ham hock. If the water level is getting too low you can top it up as you go.
5. After approx 2 hours remove the ham hock from the soup and transfer to a chopping board. Remove the skin and place this back in the soup while you remove the rest of the meat. Cut the ham from the bone and chop into small cubes also. Place the meat and bones back into the pot and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
6. Remove the skin and ham bones and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy straight away or allow to cool and portion into smaller containers ready for the freezer.