This soup would be wonderful alongside a bowl of hoppin' John. Cooking the ham hocks the day before and chilling the broth overnight will allow you to skim the fat easily.
Southern Living JANUARY 2009
1. Bring ham hocks and 8 cups water to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Boil 5 minutes; drain. Reserve hocks; wipe Dutch oven clean.
2. Sauté onion and carrot in hot oil in Dutch oven over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes or until tender; add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add wine; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until wine is reduced by half.
3. Add hocks, 8 cups water, salt, and crushed red pepper to onion mixture, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 3 hours or until ham hocks are tender.
4. Remove hocks, and let cool 30 minutes. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Transfer meat to an airtight container; cover and chill. Cover Dutch oven with lid, and chill soup 8 hours.
5. Skim and discard fat from soup in Dutch oven. Stir in meat and vegetable broth.
6. Bring mixture to a boil. Gradually stir in collards. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 to 50 minutes or until collards are tender. Serve with Cornbread Croutons.
Kitchen Express Pot Likker Soup: Omit ham hocks and salt. Prepare recipe as directed in Step 2, sautéing 1/2 lb. smoked boneless pork loin, chopped, with onion and carrot. Stir in 2 Tbsp. jarred ham soup base, broth, 8 cups water, and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Gradually stir in collards; reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until collards are tender. Prep: 20 min., Cook: 53 min.
Spanish Kale-and-White Bean Soup: Omit ham hocks, broth, salt, and red pepper. Sauté 1/2 lb. smoked chorizo, chopped, in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon; wipe Dutch oven clean. Proceed with recipe as directed in Step 2, sautéing 1 medium potato, cubed, with onion and carrot. Stir in 1 (48-oz.) container chicken broth. Proceed with recipe as directed in Step 6, substituting 1/2 (16-oz.) package fresh kale, washed and trimmed, for collards, and stirring in chorizo with kale. Stir in 1 (15.5-oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained, and, if desired, 1 (14-oz.) can chicken broth during last 5 minutes of cooking. Omit Cornbread Croutons. This hearty soup makes a great meal by itself, or serve it with crusty bread and cheese (we like Manchego). Prep: 20 min.; Cook: 1 hr., 6 min.
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