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Smoked Ham Hock, Vegetable & wheat Soup

Serves 4
PREP 30mins 
COOK 3hrs 40mins

1 garlic bulb, unpeeled, plus 4 cloves extra, finely chopped
1 large (600g) smoked ham hock
1 fresh bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs
6 cups (1.5L) chicken stock
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
100g freekeh (roasted green wheat)
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 cup (180g) macaroni
1/2 bunch cavolo nero or kale, washed, shredded
1/2 cup (80g) fresh peas
1/2 cup (60g) peeled broad beans
4 slices sourdough bread (optional) 


tips- Freekeh is a lovely, slightly chewy green wheat. You can substitute with pearl barley, faro or dried white beans.

• For a cheaper alternative, smoked bacon bones work really well in this soup, producing a delicious stock.

• I love cavolo nero. It’s meaty, dense and full of goodness. Chard or savoy cabbage can be used as a substitute.

• If you don’t have three hours to cook the ham hock, why not try a pressure cooker – the job will be done in a third of the time!



1 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Wrap garlic bulb in foil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 45 mins, until soft. Cool.

2 Meanwhile, place ham hock, bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme in a large saucepan. Pour over stock and heat on medium until just boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 hrs, adding a little water if necessary to keep ham hock covered, until hock is tender. Remove hock and set aside. Strain stock though a fine sieve. Discard solids.

3 Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a clean saucepan on medium. Cook extra garlic, fennel, onion and celery for 2-3 mins, until fragrant. Add freekeh, tomato and strained stock. Simmer for 15 mins, until freekeh is almost tender. Add macaroni and cook for 15 mins, until pasta is tender.

4 Meanwhile, remove meat from bone of hock and roughly chop. Add to soup with cavolo nero, peas and broad beans. Season to taste and simmer for 5 mins, until peas and beans are tender.

5 Meanwhile, preheat a chargrill on high. Cook sourdough for 1 min each side, until toasted. Drizzle with remaining oil. Squeeze roasted garlic from skin and spread over toast.

6 Ladle soup into large serving bowls and serve with garlic toasts.

Gary’s French Onion Soup (2012)

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