We are so lucky to live near several producers of piggie goodness; thanks to the Co-Op and Amaltheia (a family-run organic goat dairy that started raising pigs to eat the whey left over from cheesemaking) for this gorgeous ham hock. I simmered it with a few basics (thanks to a Joy of Cooking recipe), then added three huge bunches of greens: two collards and one Swiss chard, but any will do.
A slow cooked dish like this gets better with time, so make it in advance and stash it in the fridge. When you’ve gathered a friend or two, and procured the finest loaf of crusty bread you can get your hands on (thanks Wild Crumb!), reheat on the stove for a hearty lunch or dinner.
- one meaty ham hock, about 2 pounds
- 3 carrots, quartered if large, halved if small
- 2 celery stalks, halved
- 1/2 bunch parsley, tied with kitchen twine
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme (or use several sprigs of fresh, tie in with the parsley)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced and mashed with the salt, next up
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 3 bunches of winter greens: collards, chard, kale, or mustard greens, tough stems removed, leaves sliced into 3 - 4 inch strips
- seasoning just before serving: a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and additional red pepper flakes
- Place ham hock in large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. Cover with water by an inch or two.
- Add the carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, garlic mixed with salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover leaving a small steam gap, and allow to slowly simmer for an hour, (skimming the surface with a spoon to remove any "goo", technical term).
- Add the greens and stir to combine. Simmer for an additional 90 minutes to 2 hours, until meat is falling apart tender.
- Remove the parsley bundle and discard. Separate ham from bone and any remaining sinew and discard the bone and sinew. Pour off and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Season the greens and ham (and what remains of the carrots and celery) with the apple cider vinegar and pass the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.