I was recently watching Nici Wicke’s World Kitchen, specifically the Hong Kong episode. I was born in Hong Kong and it will always have a special place in my heart. In this episode, while sipping on snake soup, Nici and her Hong Kong guide Denny, talk about soup.
In Western society, soup is often eaten when we are sick. Chicken soup is consciously or subconciously considered to a magical elixir that will cure what ails you. Soup is nourishing and easy to digest.
In Chinese society, a nourishing soup is served with dinner to prevent sickness. Take a magical elixir every day for good health. How cool is that?
I grew up with soup as a course before dinner. Chinese soup is a savoury broth and light enough to have before every meal. Meats like pork or chicken are boiled with various dried roots, vegetables, dried fruits and even nuts. It’s an important aspect of every Chinese dinner. We were often encouraged to have a second bowl of soup after our meal too.
I serve soup Western style. Less than once a week, thick, filling and a meal in itself. I made this big pot of soup because I’m sick. But maybe I should keep a big pot of magical broth on hand as regular, preventative, health boost.
Bacon Hock and Vegetable Soup
The other day, I spied some honey cured bacon hocks for a measly $3.50NZ ($2.60US) each. They weigh about a kilo each so this was a bargain. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity, I bought 2 hocks. One went into the freezer and here’s what I did with the other one.
Notes and tips:
The bacon hock was already salty so there was no need for added salt. But if your soup need salt, by all means add some!
To be honest, there was a lot of meat in this soup and I could have easily doubled my recipe using the same amount of meat.
1 bacon hock
2 teaspoons sugar
Splash of cream
1/2 cup soup mix (I used Sun Valley Foods soup mix) and lentils
- In a large pot, add bacon hock, soup mix and lentils and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 and a half hours.
- Peel and dice the potatoes, kumara and onion. Grate the carrots.
- Remove the bacon hock from the pot and set aside to cool.
- Add the potatoes and kumara to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes and then add the onion, carrots and sugar.
- Peel the skin from the bacon hock and discard.
- Shred the meat and add back to the pot.
- Cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Add cream just before serving.