It's summer. It's hot. So why am I posting a soup recipe? Because it's simple and easy, and if you cook it in a crockpot, you can leave your oven and stove off for the day. Plus, it's a healthy soup and lighter than you think. Just plan on at least 6-8 hours of cooking time.
Ham Hock Soup
1 lb. ham hocks or bone-in ham (If you buy a spiral sliced ham, save the bone for this soup.)
1 lb dried white beans or navy beans
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. finely diced onion
1 t. black pepper
3 bay leaves
salt to taste
Rinse beans in cold water. Put in a large pot, at least 3 quarts, and add 6 c. water. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cover. Set aside for at least an hour but not more than two. Drain beans.
To the beans, add 6 c. of fresh water, the ham hocks, carrots, onion, pepper, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for at least 2 hours (4 on high in a crockpot, 6 on low). Test beans for doneness. They should be soft. Remove ham hocks from the soup. Carefully, they will be HOT, remove the meat. Discard bones, skin, and fat. Shred the meat and put it back into the soup. Taste and add salt as needed. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes (1 hour on high in the crockpot).
Remove bay leaves and discard before serving soup. Garnish with chopped green onions or croutons as desired.
Makes 2 quarts of soup.