Even though winter is winding down for some of you, we all still have chilly and dreary days standing between us and summer. So let’s make some soup and stay in today.
This is an amazing soup – it’s refined, full of flavor, and a great option for many types of food allergies. Slow cooked ham shanks, tender vegetables, and a touch of heat from the optional chili oil. This is a great soup to serve at the beginning of a four course meal, or sip on as you lay on the couch in your sweats.
Ham & Leek Soup
For the Broth
- 4 ham shanks
- 1 large carrot rough cut
- 3 stalks celery rough cut
- 7 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 yellow onion quartered
- handful parsley stems fresh
- 2 sprigs thyme fresh
- 2 sprigs oregano fresh
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 quarts chicken broth unsalted
- 3 quarts water
- TT salt
For the Chili Oil
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1 tbsp red chili flake
- 1 pinch salt
- 5 cloves garlic smashed
For the Soup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 leeks light colored parts only, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced
- 4 yukon gold potatoes peeled, diced
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- ham broth
- 1 handful tarragon fresh, tied in a bundle
- TT salt
- TT black pepper
- pulled ham from the ham shanks
- chili oil
- fresh chives chopped
Make the Broth
- Combine all the broth ingredients in a large pot, except the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for 2.5 hours. Remove the ham shanks and set aside, strain the liquid and discard all the other stuff. Season with salt to taste.
- Pull the good bits of ham off of the ham shank and shred into bite size pieces. Set aside.
Make the Chili Oil
- Combine the avocado oil, chili flakes and 3 of the smashed garlic cloves in a pan on medium heat. Bring to a sizzle, turn off heat and strain immediately (to keep the chili flake from burning and making your oil bitter).
- Add the two remaining garlic cloves to the oil and allow it to cool to room temperature. Discard the garlic and put the chili oil into a bottle for storage.
Make the Soup
- Heat a large cast iron dutch oven on medium heat. Add the olive oil, leeks, carrot and potatoes and sweat. Season with salt and pepper. Do not caramelize - if it's cooking too much, drop the temperature. You just want to get the vegetables started.
- Add the ham broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Turn off the heat, add the tarragon, stir and let sit for 10 minutes. Then discrd the tarragon. You just want a hint of the flavor from it.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until velvety and smooth. If heavy froth develops while blending, skim with a spoon and discard. Season the soup with salt to taste.
Plate and Serve
- In a bowl add a couple ladles of the soup. Set some pulled ham in the center (about the amount you can hold with the tips of your thumb and three fingers), top with a pinch of fresh chives and drizzle with the chili oil. Serve warm and enjoy!