Bacon Hock Minestrone
Does anything shout winter comfort more than a bacon hock soup? Packed with flavour and hearty texture, paired with plenty of vegetables and pulses it makes for a well-rounded meal, especially when served with grilled bruschetta.
Put bacon hocks in a saucepan, cover with around 2. litres water and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off and discarding any scum that forms at the top.
Taste the liquid and if very salty, drain and discard, cover hocks with more water and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking until the meat is very tender and starting to fall off the bone, around 2 hours.
Strain, reserving the cooking stock, and set aside the hocks. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones, shred the meat and set aside. This can be done a day ahead.
In a large saucepan heat the oil and fry the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Finely chop the silverbeet stems, add to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes then add the reserved stock and meat along with the beans. Shred the green parts of the silverbeet, add to the pan and continue cooking until very soft, about 30 minutes.
Add the parsley and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve in bowls, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with grated parmesan, with slices of bruschetta or bread.
2 Harmony bacon hocks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped
1 bunch silverbeet
1 tin tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 tins butter beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Grated parmesan for garnishing
Bruschetta or fresh bread to serve