Recipe: Ham and creamy potato soup, by David Theiss
While typically made in the cooler weather, this soup is a hearty and delicious any time of the year, even with our early spring conditions. I’d like to turn you on to a ham hock I produce; it’s meaty, flavorful, delicious and the perfect ingredient for this soup. You’ll have to check it out! A ham hock typically refers to a small piece of pork right above the ankle — not ham or the foot. It is typically boney with lots of fat and skin with a little meat. Years ago, I had developed what we fondly call a “country hock.” It’s made out of a pork shoulder piece that has lots of meat, a small bone and a lot of flavor after we maple sugar cure and hickory smoke it. They are delicious and have been a staple at Butler Meats for years. If you have never tried one, just ask your neighbor how good they are. With so many people complaining about ham hocks having no meat on them, our country hocks are a great addition to any soup to add a great smoked flavor and nice portion of meat. It is wonderful in bean and split pea soups and a great addition to baked beans for that delicious, smoky flavor.
My recipe today takes a somewhat traditional potato soup and uses one of these hocks to provide a full flavor with lots of meat for a soup that will please. It is really easy to make, so grab your crockpot and get this going tonight; you’ll love it tomorrow!
4 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 Butler Mat ham hock
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. black pepper
3 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup chives
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a large crockpot, put ham hock in first, bone side down. Add all other ingredients, except cream, chives and cheese. Turn to medium high and cook over night. In the morning, turn to low and carefully remove the ham hock. Gently pull off the meat onto a cutting board while trimming the fat if necessary. Roughly chop it into 1-inch pieces, take a whisk and stir around the potato and onion mixture until it is broken up into smaller pieces. This should take just a minute or so. Replace cut up meat into the crockpot; add cream, half of the chives and stir. At this point, it is ready to be served or can be kept on warm until dinnertime! Serve with cheddar and chives on top for a simple delicious homemade soup. Enjoy!
David Theiss is owner of Butler Gourmet Meats, serving Carson City for more than 46 years.