There is no shortage of great flavor in this entree! Soul food cooking is good old fashioned, down home cookin'. Soul food is cooked so that no nutrients are lost and so the food is easily digested. Soul food is power food for the body!
Traditional weight lifters and muscle builders swear by soul food for being the number one body building cuisine. Soul food gives comfort too! Ham hocks are the shank portion of the hind leg or fore leg of a pig. The meat cutting district in Chicago has some great smoke houses that provide most of America with nice quality smoked meats. Smoked ham hock has much more flavor than a regular ham hock.
There is only a little bit of meat on a ham hock, but chewing the soft cartilaginous matter and sucking on the bone marrow is part of soul food dining. Soft glutinous cartilage is an essential dietary nutrient for strong tendons, cartilage and strong heart valves in the human body.
Collard greens and ham hocks are cooked with a slightly different method than what is used to make this entree. The pot liquor is where all the flavor is! Never discard the pot liquor when cooking soul food!
Smoked Ham Hock and Cabbage with Pot Liquor:
This recipe makes 1 nice large serving!
Heat a small pot over medium heat.
Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of bacon grease.
Add 4 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Saute till the onions become a caramelized brown color.
Add 1 smoked ham hock.
Add enough water to cover the ham hock.
Add 1 pinch of crushed red pepper.
Bring the water to a gentle boil.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer till almost all of the water has evaporated. (Do not cover the pot, so the steam escapes. The onions will become very soft and dissolve into the pot liquor.)
Add 4 cups of wide sliced cabbage.
Add just enough water to cover the cabbage.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Raise the temperature to medium/medium high heat.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Place a lid on the pot.
Boil till the cabbage becomes a little more than half way cooked.
Add 2 green onions that are cut into bite size pieces.
Leave the lid off of the pot.
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Simmer the cabbage uncovered, till it becomes tender and the pot liquor is reduced to about 1/2 cup to 1 cup.
Note: The pot liquor should be very rich by now and the smoked ham hock and cabbage should not be a large amount of broth. You should be able to see more cabbage than broth in the pot.
Remove the smoked ham hock and set it aside. Spoon the cabbage and the pot liquor into a shallow bowl.
Set the smoked ham hock on top of the cabbage.
No garnish is necessary.
Make sure a spoon is handy, so the pot liquor can be easily consumed. The pot liquor broth is so very rich and satisfying! The cabbage should be tender and not mushy or over cooked.
Picking up the ham hock and nibbling on the meat is one of life's great simple pleasures! This recipe is not just a bowl of simple boiled cabbage and smoked ham hock. The extra steps and soul food cooking technique is what makes this recipe great.
Any leftover cabbage can be used to make "Bubble and Squeak" for breakfast. I have posted a few bubble and squeak recipes.
This simple smoked ham hock and cabbage with pot liquor recipe is comfortable and delicious! Yum! ... Shawna