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Ham Hock and Barley Soup

Ingredients – Serves 6-8 (depending on your appetite)

  • Ham hock from your local butcher
  • 1-2 carrot sticks diced
  • 1 leek diced
  • 5 garlic cloves crushed/diced
  • 2 celery sticks diced
  • 1-2 zucchini diced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of mixed soup packet (containing barley, yellow lentils, split peas etc.)
  • 400g tomato passata
  • 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 generous tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper (S&P) to taste
  • 1 bunch of basil and or parsley chopped/torn

Method

Get ready to make a large amount of soup, my advice is to get a big pot.

First step is to saute the leek using 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil on a medium heat, note if you find your leek is sticking add some water to the pot and turn the heat down.  Once the leek is cooked add the garlic, celery, carrot and zucchini continue to saute until the vegetables are slightly soft.  Then add the tomato paste, tomato passata, balsamic vinegar and ham hock.  Cover all ingredients with water and bring to the boil, once the soup is boiling give it a stir then add the barley/soup mix, give the pot a good stir and turn down the soup and simmer for at least an hour and a half.  The longer and slower you cook this soup the more flavour you will get out of the ham hock.  Make sure you taste this one along the way to ensure you have a balance of flavours.  Once the lentils and grains have softened to your liking and the meat falls off the bone, your soup is ready to be served.  Serve this with lots of chopped herbs and S&P to taste.  Enjoy!