Watercress and Ham Hock soup with Stilton and Garlic Toasts
Added by Skidalmal1 | Mon 20 Jul 2009 @ 11:31
A creamy watercress soup with flaked ham, served with silton and parsley crostini. Serves 8 as a starter, 4 for lunch with seconds!
Stock and Ham;
Ham Hock on the bone
Bay leaves (3) Carrot, onion, celery stalks (3) and cloves (5) for the ham stock.
Soup and crostinni;
Watercress (2 large bunches or 3 or 4 bags if from the supermarket)
Single cream 250ml
Vegetable Bouillon powder
Charlotte Potatoes 500g
Decent knob of butter
Large white onion
2tbsp fresh copped parsley (flat if possible)
1 day old french stick
Garlic (1 large clove)
-First place the ham hock, leaving most of the fat on, in a large thick based pan of water (topping up as required so it doesn\'t boil dry) with the bay leaves, carrot, onion (studded with the cloves) and celery stalks. Depending on the hock size, simmer over a medium heat for 3 hours or until the ham falls from the bones. Drain using a colander over a jug/bowl reserving the cooking juices for the soup stock. Remove the skin and large layer of fat from the meat, flake the ham into chunks using 2 forks and save for later. Use the same ham pan for the soup.
- Slice very thinly the large white onion; sweat off in the knob of butter in the pan used for the ham. Dice the potatoes and add to the onion along with a slug of olive oil. Cook for a few moments making sure all the potato chunks have had a good turn in the butter/oil mix. Then make up 2 pts bouillon vegetable stock using boiling water and add to the potatoes, add 2 pts of the ham hock stock. Simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are soft.
- Make the crostini by slicing the bread thinly on the diagonal and place on a large baking sheet in a medium oven to crisp up for a few moments. After 2 minutes rub each toast with the garlic clove, turn over and return to the oven to crisp the underside. While the toasts are in the oven combine the thinly sliced parsley with the stilton and a glug of olive oil to make a rough paste. Once the toasts are done turn off the oven, spread each one with a layer of the stilton mix and place back in the warm oven to start to melt slightly whilst you finish the soup.
- Place the washed watercress bunches into the soup (reserving a small sprig as garnish for each dish) once the potatoes are soft, allow to cook for 5 minutes then remove from the heat and blitz until smooth, I use a hand mixer for ease. Add the cream and season with plenty freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste (watch the salt as the ham stock will be salty).
-To serve, place a decent ladle full of soup into a warmed bowl, put a few chunks of the ham from the bone into each bowl, garnish with the watercress sprig and a turn of pepper. Let each guest help themselves to the stilton crostini to dunk.