This hearty southern-style soup is packed with vitamin- and mineral-rich collard greens. Ham bone soup was originally meant as a means to get the most meals out of a ham, but we have developed this recipe using a smoked ham hock (which should be available from your supermarket) so you don’t have to purchase and eat a whole ham to make the soup. If you do happen to have a meaty ham bone, though, by all means use it instead of the ham hock. Ham hocks can be quite salty, so use salt-free homemade broth or a reduced-sodium canned variety to make this soup.
Makes 8 servings
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 3 qt chicken broth
- 1 1/4 lb collard greens
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup minced salt pork (about 3 ounces)
- 1 1/4 cups minced onion
- 1/2 cup minced celery
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Sachet (5 to 6 black peppercorns, 4 parsley stems, 1 fresh thyme sprig or 1/2 tsp dried enclosed in a large tea ball or tied in a cheesecloth pouch)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 tsp malt vinegar, or as needed
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- Place the ham hock and broth in a pot large enough to accommodate both. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the ham hock from the broth and allow both to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the tough ribs and stems away from the collard greens. Plunge the greens into the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Chop the greens coarsely and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the salt pork and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Gradually add the broth, whisking constantly to work out any lump of flour. Bring to a simmer and add the collard greens, ham hock, and sachet. Cook for 1 hour.
- Remove and discard the sachet. Remove the ham hock and cool slightly. Trim away the skin and fat and dice the lean meat. Add the meat back to the soup.
- Add the cream and season to taste with the vinegar and Tabasco. Serve in heated bowls.