Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ham and mustard greens soup

If pressed, I'd admit that buying a 9 lb. ham for one person seems excessive, even if it was half price. But the best part about having a lot of a single cheap ingredient is that it forces you to be creative. Unfortunately, a giant ham thats been cooked twice (city hams are pre-cooked when you buy them don't forget) has few creative options as far as real food goes. Sure, there's the inevitable ham sandwich, ham and eggs, ham soup, um... I think thats it really.

Not feeling the creative juices flowing, and it being three billion below 0, soup actually sounded like a good idea. I could have gone and made a ham and bean soup like so many other families do, but I figured that the ham would be more than enough protein and thus nixed that idea. Having bought some mustard greens a few days earlier (I'm currently on a mission to cook every green leafy vegetable I can find this year) I decided on a ham and mustard green soup. Having made some lovely pork stock from the hock (the bone of the hame) and the traditional celery/onion/carrot combo, and having some chicken stock left, I decided that all I needed to pick up were some mushrooms and I'd be on my way.

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Ham and mustard greens soup:
1 lb. ham, cubed
1 bunch mustard greens, cleaned, de-stemmed, and chopped
2 carrots, sliced on the bias
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
1 clove minced garlic
8 cups pork stock
1 tbsp. fresh ground coriander
1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. salt (depending on your stock/broth you'll need more of or less)

1. Place your soup pot over medium heat and add the wine.
2. When the wine just begins to steam, add the garlic, onion, carrot and greens. Cook until the greens have shrunk considerably and the onion is translucent.
3. Add the ham, stock and coriander and cook for 30 minutes till the carrots are tender.
4. Add the mushrooms and cook a further 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed/desired.

Notes: I only had 4 cups of pork stock, so I used 4 cups of chicken stock as well. The flavor is a bit mixed since my chicken stock was stronger than the pork stock. Still good though.

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