Califonia Bountiful

Smoked ham hock and heirloom bean soup

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

Executive Chef Toby Barajas
Savory Café, Woodland

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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


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

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