Potato, Grilled Corn & Ham Hock Chowder
We don’t eat an enormous amount of potatoes in our house so when I came home from our recent trip to Vietnam to discover a whole bag of them in the pantry that our house sitters had left, I just knew I couldn’t let them go to waste. I was also absolutely fanging for some good, hearty winter stodge after dining on noodles, rice and spring rolls for 3 weeks. I got me a ham hock, some corn cobs and a few other ingredients and found myself in creative cooking mode. I just love it when that happens and the creation is worthy of sharing!
This soup does take a little time but to break it up, you could do it as a two step process by making the stock in the morning or the night before. You may also have more ham stock than you need. I popped the leftover stock in a ziplock bag and froze it. It would be a great base for Pea & Ham soup, Minestrone or a risotto.
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 2.5 Hours $$ Medium Budget
Serves 6 with leftovers
1 kg of potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large extra potato, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes (this will accompany the garnish but is optional)
1 large ham hock
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large onion, quartered and skin left on
2 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 tsp of peppercorns
2 tsp of sea salt
2 litres of water
2 fresh corn cobs, husks removed
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
200ml of pure cream
Sea salt and pepper
Place the ham hock, carrots, celery, onion, parsley, salt and peppercorns in a large saucepan and cover with 2 litres of water. If you need to add a little more water, that is fine as you want the hock to be fully submerged. As I mentioned above, the stock can be frozen for later use. Bring the pot to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for approximately 2 hours or until the ham is coming away from the bone.
While the stock is cooking, heat a griddle pan or BBQ grill and grill the corn on all sides until cooked through and lightly charred. Set aside to cool until you can hold the cob with your hand. Placing the base of the corn on your chopping board, run your knife down the sides of the corn, as close to the cob as you can so that the corn comes off in little bunches. Keep aside one cup of the cooked corn for garnish.
Once the hock is cooked, remove it from the stock and set aside to cool slightly before shredding the meat with a pair of tongs (or your hands like me) and discarding any skin and the bones. Reserve one cup of the shredded meat for garnish. Drain the stock into a large bowl using a sieve and discard the vegetables. Return half the stock to the pan and add the potatoes. Bring to the boil for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are well and truly cooked when pierced with a knife. Use a stick blender or food processor to process the potatoes until silky smooth. Bring the soup back to a simmer and add stock, a little at a time until you have a nice, thick and smooth consistency. Add the corn, ham meat and the cream to the soup and stir to combine. Have a taste and adjust any seasoning if necessary.
Heat a small non stick fry pan and add a little oil. Fry the extra potato cubes until golden on all sides and then add the reserved corn and ham meat to the fry pan to heat through. Toss the mixture with half of the chives just before serving.
To serve, divide the soup between large bowls and top with a generous tablespoon of the potato, ham and corn mixture. Scatter over the remaining chives and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil before grinding on a final sprinkling of pepper. Serve with crusty bread if you so desire……