This soup came to be a couple of weeks ago when I was in Pennsylvania. David was heading out to run errands, and so I asked him to stop at my favorite butcher–Saylor’s–in Hellertown for a little Sunday supper roast. While he was there, I suggested he do as I do and pick up a few other things. He was bewildered. “Like what?” “Surprise me,” I replied.
I would have probably picked up some bacon and a couple of their smoked whole chicken breasts. He arrived home proudly bearing gifts–a package of broccoli rabe and provolone sausages–Saylor’s biggest selling sausage he had learned–some beef jerky for our son-in-law, Andy, and a couple of ham hocks.
I put the sausage in the freezer–my money in the bank–David gave the jerky to Andy, and I set out to make a big pot of soup. There were the usual options–lentil, split pea, or anything bean–but I wanted something different. Coincidentally I had just made a special stop at local hispanic market in Connecticut and picked up several cans of hominy (sadly, they don’t carry it at my local grocery stores any more), and so I googled ham hock hominy soup. I guess it should come as no surprise that someone else had already thought of it. Using an Epicurious recipe as my guide, I developed a ham hock-based hominy soup.
I’ve made some pretty good soups in my life, but David, a corn-loving Midwesterner, declared it the best soup I had ever made. With that kind of compliment, I made it again the following week, and when I realized it was gluten-free, I brewed up a pot a week later when our friends, Deb and Rod from Smith Bites came for a visit. Now Maggy and I are in Alabama to introduce Dashiell to his great-grandmother, aunt, and cousins. Down south and Ham Hock-Hominy Soup on my mind, I made a double recipe for dinner last night with enough leftovers for lunch today.
I can’t stop making Ham Hock-Hominy Soup. It’s that simple and good.
- 1 large ham hock
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) yellow or white hominy, drained
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Bring hock, broth, and 2 cups of water to boil in a soup kettle over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, partially covered, until hock is tender, about 1½ hours. Remove hock from broth. When cool enough to handle remove meat from bone and pull into small pieces; discard bones. Set broth and meat aside. You should have about 1 quart of rich broth. If not, add enough water to equal 1 quart.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, thyme, and pepper flakes; continue to cook until fragrant, a minute or so longer. Add hominy, tomatoes, broth, and ham; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer, partially covered until flavors deepen, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve.