ham hock soup

20180403_110956.jpgIf you celebrated Easter, you may be trying to work through mountains of ham leftovers. This is the situation I find myself in and I wondered if Great-aunt Helen’s recipe boxes could help.wpid-20150217_112908.jpgI tried looking under H for ham – nope. M for meat also no. But S for soup did the trick and I found this recipe for Ham Hock Bean Soup.20180403_110405.jpgWhile this soup did little to help me work through sliced ham leftovers, it did make fine use of the ham hock I had stashed away in the freezer. Most of the ingredients were already on hand and the fresh parsley that was not was easy enough to pick up on one of many runs around town transporting my kids from here to there and back again.

There is nothing complicated about this soup, though its old-school use of dried beans means you have to plan at least a little bit ahead for soaking. (That said, this recipe cleverly makes use of the quick-soak method which cuts the soaking time from eight hours to one.)20180403_110356.jpgAs I flipped through Helen’s box, I saw that maybe one-fourth of the recipes were clippings like this one, cut out from a newspaper or magazine. The remaining three-fourths were written in her hand or sometimes even my mom’s as she had been a source of some recipes. At some point, Helen must have decided it was easier to clip and stash than it was to precisely copy onto a 3×5″ lined card. Today we would more likely snap a photo with our phone and save to a folder on a cloud of choice.20180403_110414.jpgThere is no right or wrong way to save a recipe, though the hand-written to me has the most charm. Little asides, comments, attributions, all in the handwriting of the owner, builds a connection that print and virtual copy just can’t touch. But a recipe is a recipe and the faded page from Sunset, along with Helen’s “Serves 6” comment at the end makes this as personal as anything in her collection.


View from my dining room as I sipped my soup on April 3.

Her soup was exactly what was needed as the snow continues to fall in Minnesota even though yes it is early April. Helen lived her life in this Northern Midwestern state as well and surely made comforting soups in spring. It’s a sturdy, practical, yet lovely soup just as Helen was that kind of woman.20180403_110721.jpgServed with one of the few remaining hot-cross buns, it made a hearty meal.20180403_111001.jpgPlease return for an adult beverage we’ll pair with this steamy bowl of good. Thank you for being here today.

20 thoughts on “ham hock soup

  1. Liz!! Good to see another Post from you and Aunt Helen!! Soup look delicious!!! I hope you have been well, I have been so darn busy, my blogging has gone down to the bottom of my list.
    Stay warm girl and good to see you here!! Cheers!! xoxo

    • Hi, Amy! Glad to see you – thank your for visiting 🙂 I hear you on the blogging dropping to the bottom of the list. This is my first run back in a while. Real life gets in the way, but family/friends/jobs are important for sure. Staying warm, ha. Crazy stuff. Remind me where you are. ??

  2. Wow, nice to see those recipe paper clippings. Those old days my mother does the same, cut recipes from newspapers and keep them in a actually, paper bag. Soup looks delicious even though I am vegetarian

    • Thanks, Chelvi 🙂 I love the connections recipes foster. Just touching the same recipe that was clipped by a long lost relative makes me feel as if I am (sort of) in the kitchen with them. Seems such an intimate/immediate thing. Love that you have that connection with your mom.

  3. Liz–Aunt Helen’s soup looks wonderful and warming against your snowy backdrop. Loved the photo of your yard and neighbors. It does look cold!

    We are warming up with the help of an “atmospheric river”. I don’t know where they come up with these terms, but it fits. Looking forward to seeing what drink you pair with the soup!

  4. Are there mushrooms in it? It looks like a fun home for some mushrooms. Even from warm and sunny Texas, that soup looks delish! For efficiency’s sake, it does make sense to “clip and stash” but I agree that the handwriting (a lost art) is a nice link to the past, and to a sturdy, practical, lovely aunt. I do admit that when I buy cookbooks, I only buy ones that have bright, color photos of every single recipe. I like to see the end product. But knowing that you are sharing the same soup that your Aunt Helen ate many years ago is a fine way to honor her memory.

    • Great idea, mushrooms. Yum. Though no one else in my house likes mushrooms so I would have everyone give me their mushrooms.

      Agree about the photos and it’s a sign of the times that there was no photo of the soup. Though maybe there was and Helen just didn’t clip or stash. It was exactly what I was hoping for to use up the ham hock. Though don’t tell anyone but I forgot to add the rosemary 😦 Very cool to think I am making and eating the same things that Helen did.

      • I am truly sorry your family does not like mushrooms. I had them yesterday and today. My son does is not fond of them, and I tell him he will mature to liking them one day. I won’t tell anyone about the rosemary.

  5. the perfect soup for a snowy wintry april spring day. i can’t wait to see what you pair with this. i do love the charm of the hand-written recipes,, but i also love seeing the cut-outs, as sometimes i can catch a glimpse of what the world was like at that time –

    • You make an excellent point – faded cut-outs, especially those still containing other parts of the page, are a good look back in time. Love old supermarket ads with crazy-cheap produce (cheap now, probably not so much then) and even the way things were written. Folks will have a field day 50 years from now looking at our way with words

  6. This sounds like a cozy meal for a brisk spring (??) day! We are in Montreal and it was snowing here yesterday, so I feel your pain. Glad to see you’re posting often, I need to take a page from your book! And happy that you’re still working through Aunt Helen’s repertoire; I would imagine she’d be pleased. 🙂

    • Thank you, friend 🙂 A cozy meal yes and as the weather shows no signs of warming it is being enjoyed multiple days. I think it’s Helen’s recipes that keep bringing me back. Feel compelled to learn more about her and honor her memory. I think she’d think I was crazy for making a big to-do about her recipes, but maybe she’s be secretly pleased. ??

    • BONNIE!!!!!!!! ***Liz hopping up and down and up and down again in glee*** Oh how I miss you. Hope you and yours are well. Appreciate you stopping by very much. The soup was good yes, though maybe not a dish for you in sunny California. You good?

  7. Even though it’s summer here in Australia, a good ham hock is just perfect regardless of what the temperature is…yummo! Do you deliver to Australia! If so, I will have a weeks worth…thank you!


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