Califonia Bountiful
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Smoked ham hock and heirloom bean soup

Smoked ham hock and heirloom bean soup


5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
2 to 3 stalks celery, chopped
2 to 3 carrots, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz. tomato paste
3 tsp. curry powder
1 cup white wine
4 quarts chicken or beef stock
2 to 3 tsp. chicken bouillon
3 dried bay leaves or 1 fresh
1 smoked ham hock
3 cups heirloom beans, rinsed and soaked 6 to 8 hours
2 cups blanched kale or spinach
Parmesan cheese and chopped cilantro, for garnish

Juan Barajas describes this soup as "Grandma and comfort food—a warm embrace in the middle of winter."


In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, cook onion, celery and carrots in 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat for
5 to 6 minutes to caramelize vegetables. Stir in garlic and cook an additional 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.

Push all vegetables to the side of the pot and add an additional 1 tbsp. oil. Quickly stir in curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, being careful not to burn the powder. Immediately combine cooked powder with vegetables and deglaze with wine. Turn heat to high and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in stock, bouillon, bay leaves, ham hock and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until beans are tender. Stir in greens 2 to 3 minutes before serving. Garnish with parmesan cheese, cilantro and remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Serves 8 to 10

Photo: © 2019 Fred Greaves