I have taken to having ham hock broth ready for my Warm Weather Pea and Ham Soup in my freezer alongside chicken and duck broths and pho beef broth. Following the recent good influence of boulangere I am regularly making my own vegetable broth from vegetable scraps gathered during a week or so of cooking in my kitchen. I love pea and ham soup but am not as fond of the heavy one-stop pea and ham soup method of yesteryear. The wonderful Simon Hopkinson's idea of cooking the ham hock broth separately appealed to me because I could stage the preparation plus I could produce a lighter version of my beloved pea and ham soup. I have subsequently gone to a different method and totally different desired end result for my light pea and ham soup. —krusher
6 litres+ of stock
large smoked ham hocks
large leeks (halved, rinsed & chopped)
garlic cloves, skinned and bruised
carrots, roughly chopped
sticks of celery, roughly chopped
white onions, peeled and studded with total of 6 cloves
Put the ham hocks in a very large soup pot and cover with cold water. As soon as it comes to the boil, tip the water out. Rinse the ham hocks and the pot. This cooks off inpurities etc on the ham hock.
Once again, put the ham hocks in the large soup pot and fill with cold water. Add all the ingredients. Bring the water to boiling point again then turn the heat down to a level which will sustain a rolling simmer for 2 hours. From time to time, skim off any scum that you see coming to the top of the broth with a fine sieve ladle.
After 2 hours, remove the ham hocks carefully from the pot and place in a shallow bowl. Cover with foil for a few minutes.
Strain the broth through a large fine mesh sieve into a large container and leave it to cool down to room temperature. Throw away all vegetable and other ingredients used in cooking the broth. When the reserved broth is cool, put in the refrigerator until any residual fat has solidified on the surface. Carefully remove the fat and pour broth into desired storage containers and put into the freezer for future use.
While the broth is cooling, gently remove the meat from the ham hock bones. Put into individual serving portion storage containers, cover with a some broth and store in the freezer.