These are some of my favorite days. A new kitchen garden gets planted and we spend the summer waiting for its fullness.
But many May days end with a chill, so it’s still occasionally soup weather.
I had a beautiful ham and decided to do something different with it than my usual ham and bean soup. This soup is ALL about the stock so it’s a two day process. It’s worth it - I could sip just the stock forever.
Make sure you get a hearty bone-in ham, not one that looks like it should be sliced for lunchmeat.
Large bone-in ham
2 stalks celery halved
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
12 cups water
Remove enough ham from the bone to make about 3 cups. In a large pot add the rest of the ham and bone and add the remaining ingredients.
Cover with a lid, them simmer on low heat for 4-6 hours, with the lid on.
Remove the lid and stir the broth well, then remove the bay leaves.
Pour the broth through a very fine strainer or cheese cloth, then refrigerate the broth and discard the solids unless there are good chunks of ham left to put in the soup.
The next day (see the pictures below) skim the considerable amount of fat off the hopefully very gelatinous broth. My ham was skin on so that makes it much fattier.
Save and freeze any leftover broth after you make the soup below. It’s really delicious if you have the right ham and you can use it for a lot.
Now the soup!
6 cups cauliflower florets (frozen is fine – about 24 oz)
6 cups ham stock or chicken broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups chopped ham (more if you have any left from the stock)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves*
2 Tbsp butter
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Combine the cauliflower, stock, water, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender.
Blend everything in the pot with an immersion blender (or remove to a large blender and blend in batches then return to the pan) until smooth. Stir in the ham, and thyme leaves and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the butter and apple cider vinegar. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
I added more thyme after I tasted the finished soup - it really adds so much to it.
Grab a cup and some crusty buttered bread and watch you early garden grow.