Smoked Bacon Hock

I have used these in the past to make soup but notice that sometimes they seem to cause the soup to be too salty. I have a packet of Kings soup that I plan to add to it plus some home grown vegetables. I have decided that maybe pre-soaking the bacon hock and then discarding the water might help. But how long should I pre-soak it for? Do I need to discard the water a number of times? Any other suggestions?

Chef_rai5, Jun 3, 11:18 am

rai5, I personally would not do the pre-soaking and discarding of the water as you are thinking of doing and because you find the soup to be too salty I would not use the Kings soup either.
Reasons -
(a) When the hock is pre-soaked and that water discarded, flavour is also discarded.
(b) The King soup mixes include seasoning/flavourings that are salty in themselves. From memory the last one I used (quite some time ago) was "Low Salt" - but that's still added salt which is what you're not wanting.

Alternative - buy some of the good old fashioned soup mix which is the lentils, pearly barley, split peas and small pasta (e.g. alphabets) without any added flavouring/salty additives. Alternatively the lentils, pearl barley, split peas and small pasta can be purchased separately and added in the proportions of your choice.

Hope that helps. :-))

Chef_245sam, Jun 3, 11:38 am

I live in a small town and am on a limited budget. I brought two packets of Kings on special so discarding them is not an option. I make other soups from scratch but have used Kings before occasionally without the bacon hock and found them ok, but as I have visitors coming for three days I thought a big pot of soup for lunches will be useful.

Chef_rai5, Jun 3, 11:42 am

rai5, I agree absolutely "a big pot of soup for lunches will be useful" and I definitely don't suggest or advise that you discard/waste the King soup mix that you bought but what I am suggesting is that, to avoid the excess saltiness that you have previously found, simply don't use the King soup mix with the bacon hock - i.e. make two completely separate batches of soup - one with the bacon stock + plenty of whatever vegetables you have to hand which can also include a can or two of tomatoes. Use the King soup mix to make another soup, also with plenty of whatever vegetables you have available.

Here's a recipe that you might like to try - it's lovely with either a bacon or ham hock and is thanks to TM's brianmac/cookessentials (Pam). The recipe uses a crock-pot but IMO could just as easily be made without a crock-pot/slowcooker if you don't have one available.

ham hock
water to cover
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
½ bunch celery, including the tops, chopped
1-2 potatoes, kumara and swede, all cubed
1-2 carrots, thickly sliced
1x 1 litre carton chicken or vegetable stock
tomato paste - 2 tbsp or to taste
1-2 cups macaroni elbows or spirals
a little stock powder and/or salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the hock in the crockpot with water to cover. Cook until the meat begins to fall off the bone, then remove the hock and take off the skin/fatty layer and cut all the meat into small pieces. Be sure to also remove, from the cooking liquid, any bits of bone, skin and meat that has fallen off.
Now, either wait for the liquid to go cold and take any fat off the top, or just remove any visible bits of fat off the top (a folded piece of bread will do the trick - just skim gently across the top to soak up the fatty layer) - “I usually leave the liquid overnight so it's ready to prepare the following day” – Pam.
To the cooking liquid, add the meat, all the vegetables, the chicken stock and the tomato paste – it may be necessary to remove some of the liquid from the crockpot if it gets too full BUT reserve it for later.
Cook on HIGH until all the vegetables are tender, then add the pasta and cook through until tender – the soup should be just about thick enough to stand your spoon in. Add the stock powder/salt and lots of freshly ground pepper to taste.
(a) From Pam - Salt probably won’t be needed as the stock/cooking liquid should have enough from the hock.
(b) Because of your previous experience with the hocks making soup too salty, I would advise using homemade unsalted stock for the above recipe, or it may even be better to use water rather than purchased liquid stock, or water + powdered stock.

Hope that helps. :-))

Chef_245sam, Jun 3, 12:00 pm

Use a boiling chicken instead of a bacon hock.

Chef_davidt4, Jun 3, 12:04 pm

When I cook up a bacon hock for soup, I use the water it is boiled in and add veges to that as one lot of soup. The water has the bacon flavour. Add bacon meat to another lot of veges.

Chef_jan2242, Jun 3, 12:05 pm

i would soak your hock the salt can be killing then use your kings soup i use it as a stock for soup becaus eit means i dont have to keep the dried veg on hand add your veg what ever you have on hand and cook it up it will not be as thick as just dried peas but really yummy on a cold wet week end . some home baked buns would go down well with it . get cheap supermarket ones spray with cold water just a little and pop them in a hot 400deg oven to crisp up . lunch will be a bit crumby but i will bet that it will all go

Chef_whitehead., Jun 3, 3:13 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I have decided to go ahead and use the kings dried veges, bacon hock and my garden veges. I'll use the kings dried stock at some other stage. I have a bread maker and will bake some focaccia to go with it.

Chef_rai5, Jun 3, 5:25 pm

Add a couple of spuds when cooking as they will help soak up salt.
Don't use Campbells stock . I find it very salty. I use fresh water from the tap.
Wash the soup mix till it runs clear.

Chef_thewomble1, Jun 3, 8:14 pm

the pac n save hocks are much better than others Imake soup every week to last up to 3days not salty at all Other trick If too salty add a couple of potatoes they will absorb the salt remove before serving

Chef_ritebuy, Jun 4, 8:08 am

Don't add salt.
use the Kings mix and the hock.
Use a BIG pot. when I make bacon bone (with heaps of veges) soup I get 4 meals at least out of it.

Chef_lythande1, Jun 4, 8:12 am

+1. Good, practical advice. No need to use a stock when making bacon hock soup as the bacon hock provides the stock.

Chef_buzzy110, Jun 4, 9:04 am

your right

Chef_whitehead., Jun 4, 9:59 am

If cooking for the meat eaters, the 'secret' to my butternut pumpkin soup is a smoked bacon hock. I only use butternut as it is the sweetest and balances the salt from the hock. Towards the end of cooking, lift the hock, let sit until cooled, shred the meat and reserve.
I like to serve a chunkier rustic soup. Ladle piping hot into big bowls, top with shredded meat, lots of real Parmesan (optional) which melts, sprinkle some finely chopped parsley of any variety. Season with cracked pepper and sea salt, serve with crusty bread and lashings real butter.
The smoked hock makes such a difference to this winter fare dish.
Oh and shredded finely in corn fritters is divine. Slurp

Chef_daarhn, Jun 5, 3:06 pm

If you have the packets of soup mix, and I like the minestrone one, you can sift out some of the additives by putting in a sieve over a bowl. then just use the sifted out additives to flavour as you taste.
Add, carrots parsnips, celery, mixed veges
Adding a couple of peeled spuds to the soup whole will soak up the salt they can be discarded or added to more spuds/kumara as a seasoned mash.

Chef_kindajojo, Jun 5, 10:15 pm

I used the bacon hock, all the kings packet as they don't separate out into a flavour sachet, a can of tomatoes, and my own vegetables which did include kumara and potato. It was not salty (although I didn't add any) and very yum and the men went back for 2nds. Hubby and I are having the last of it for tea tonight. Thanks for all the comments and help.

Chef_rai5, Jun 15, 6:44 am

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