What is a ham hock, you ask? I didn’t know either when my mom bought two for me at an Amish farmer’s market. In quick terms, it’s a joint in a hog’s leg. (You can look it up on Wikipedia for a more descriptive definition, if you are so inclined.)
What you really need to know is that a ham hock makes for a flavorful and hearty soup. The initial recipe that I found online called for the ham hocks to be simmered with dried beans, but my mom suggested that I roast the ham before making the soup as the roasting enhances the flavor. So instead of using dried beans, I used cooked beans that I had in the freezer, but you could also use canned beans.
This soup takes awhile to pull together, so make sure you set aside 4-5 hours to make it, but I assure you IT IS WORTH THE WAIT!
Ham and Bean Soup
- 2 large ham hocks
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups cooked Great Northern beans or 2 (14.5 oz) cans, rinsed and drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place ham hocks in a large dutch oven and add about a ½ inch of water. These ham hocks were very large. My dutch oven is 6 3/4 quarts and you can see that they fill the pan. (It’s important to use a pan that can go from oven to stovetop, like a dutch oven.) Roast ham hocks for about 2 hours. Do not cover. Warning: Your kitchen will smell amazing.
3. Remove the dutch oven and transfer to the stovetop. Turn the stove to low heat and add the onion, celery, and garlic. The bottom of my pan looks burned in the below picture, but it’s not. It is the fat and the flavor from the ham. Saute the the vegetables until they are softened, mix the vegetables in with the flavor on the bottom of the pan.
4. Add water to cover the ham, about 6-8 cups. Add the beans, bay leaves, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 2 hours.
5. After 2 hours, remove the ham hocks and pull the meat off the bone and shred. Add the shredded ham back to the the soup. Discard any fat, the bones, and the bay leaves.
Enjoy this rustic, hearty soup with a garden salad and some artisan bread.
Dr Dean says
Ham Hocks are a great way to flavor any vegetable or soup, unless you are watching your fat calories or salt…
Family Balance Sheet says
Dr Dean – roasting the ham hocks brought out the most incredible flavor. My husband declared it the best soup that I have ever made. Thanks for the comments.
tegel outlet says
Awesome post Thanks for sharing
You are absolutely amazing!! I would think that every mother would love to have you as a daugher-in-law.
Thank you so much for all the work that you do putting this blog together. Love the ideas and the recipes. Great job!!!
You’re so sweet, Lucille! Thanks for your kind words.
Patti Law-Poggi says
CAN I USE MY COPPER CHEF PAN AS A DUTCH OVEN?
Patti, I do not have a copper chef pan, so I’m sorry, but don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe consult the company with your question.
Tom Pagano says
After I roasted the smoked ham hocks I did not get any red staining as the photo so I added tomato paste and browned it with the vegetables for color. You were not specific about covering or not covering pan?
Hi Tom, I had to go back and look at the post, because I didn’t know what you were talking about with the red staining. It is actually the fat from the ham and not tomato paste. I agree that it does look red. I did edit the post to add not to cover the pan when roasting.
Thanks for the comments.
Hello, would you be able to tell me an adjusted time for 4 small ham hocks, please? Thank you for your time.
Good question, Emily! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve never really noticed a difference in size with ham hocks. If you want to cook them all at once, then you could follow the time described in the post. If you want to cook 2 at a time, then maybe reduce cooking time and monitor until they are cooked through.
Steven Nguyen says
Try not to cook it with broth as the broth already has tons of salt plus the salt coming out from the ham hog will make your soup very salty. Instead of broth, use water, tonic water, sparkling water or fizzy soda water (trust me, it will cook your ham hog faster).