This is a super-easy dish that's rich, hearty and full-flavoured, but doesn't require a whole lot of work. Just let the flavour of the hock come through and do the work for you. Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the beans.
- 2 tbsp mild-flavoured olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 smoked ham hock (about 900gm)
- 200 gm dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
- 150 gm farro (see note), rinsed
- 1.3 litres chicken stock
- Finely grated parmesan and finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional), to serve
- 1Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and stir occasionally until soft and translucent, adding celery and garlic for the last 5 minutes of cooking (13-16 minutes). Add ham hock, beans, farro and chicken stock, bring to a simmer, then half-cover with a lid and simmer until hock, beans and farro are tender (2½-3 hours; top up with water as necessary to keep hock covered). Remove hock from soup and set aside. Season soup to taste and keep warm.
- 2When cool enough to handle, shred meat off the bone (discard bone), and return to the soup.
- 3Serve soup topped with parmesan, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and a generous grind of black pepper.
Farro is available from select delicatessens.
Drink suggestion: Something rustic and cloudy brewed with grains other than barley, for example, farro. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.