Hearty, healthy bacon hock soup using a bacon or ham hock or bones and and any vegetables you have on hand. Make it in the slow cooker or instant pot and serve with fresh bread for a warming winter meal!
Bacon hock soup is a classic winter soup and is a fabulous way to pack loads of nutrition into one bowl. It's also one of those recipes that everyone makes just a little bit differently - the way my Mum and Granny make it is different to how Josh's Mum and Nana make it and then I make it slightly different again! But that is the joy of a soup like this, it is never exactly the same twice and you can change it up to suit your families tastebuds!
Try as I might, soup just doesn't pass as dinner for my meat and veg loving husband (although my Mexican Chicken Soup just scrapes through!) so we save this one for weekend lunches, served alongside a buttered piece of fresh sourdough or no-knead bread.
- Bacon hock - the bacon hock (also called a ham hock in some places) is like a mini ham and is perfect to use in this soup as you will get plenty of meat off the bone. You can also use bacon bones which is what I usually use as this is what we get with our homekill pork.
- Soup mix or split peas - this is what bulks up the soup and makes it super thick and filling. I prefer to use a pre bought, unflavoured mix of lentils, split peas and barley.
- Vegetables - this soup is a fantastic way to clear out the fridge of all the odds and ends of vegetables that need to be used. I like using onion, garlic, carrot, celery, grated kumara or pumpkin, silverbeet or spinach, but anything goes!
- Slice, dice or grate all vegetables into desired size. Because I have kids of various ages, I prefer to very finely chop or grate my vegetables making it easy for them to eat (and not as obvious how many vegetables are hiding in there!)
- Add all soup ingredients to your slow cooker or instant pot/pressure cooker. Cook for time specified in recipe card.
3. Remove bacon hock or bones from the soup and shred the meat.
4. Add the shredded meat back into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through fresh parsley.
Hint: Grating vegetables makes them almost disappear into the soup which is a great way to get kids to eat a whole lot of veggies that they might otherwise turn up their nose at!
Cooked soup keeps in the fridge in a sealed container for 1 week. Any leftovers can also be frozen and will keep in the freezer for 6 months.
I like freezing soup in individual portions for a quick, healthy meal for myself during the day or if I'm home alone for dinner. Empty plastic peanut butter jars or margarine containers are excellent for this! Or freeze portions in silicone muffin tins (see them in action here), pop them out and transfer to a large snaplock bag or freezer proof container.
Definitely! This method works really well with beef shin bones or chicken too or with the leftover Christmas ham bone!
We get ours with our homekill pork but you can easily pick them up from the supermarket or ask at your local butcher.
It freezes extremely well, I like freezing it in individual portions for a quick lunch or lazy dinner!
I have used almost every vegetable in this soup at one stage or another and they have all been good! My favourite ones to use are actually anything that is left in the bottom of the fridge looking a little sad - such a great way to use them up!
Bacon Hock and Vegetable Soup (slow cooker and instant pot)
- 500 grams bacon hock or bacon bones
- 3 cups vegetables grated or finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups soup mix lentils, split peas, barley
- 8 cups water
- Salt & pepper
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- Add bacon hock or bones, vegetables and soup mix to the inner pot of a slow cooker or instant pot or to a large stockpot on the stove. Cover with water and place the lid on.
- Cook for 8 hours on low or until the meat is starting to fall off the bone.
Instant Pot/Multi cooker
- Ensure the valve is in the sealed position and cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 2 hours or until the meat is starting to fall off the bone.
- Use tongs to transfer the cooked bacon hock or bones to a chopping board. Use forks to remove all meat from the bones and shred. Discard the bones and return the shredded meat to the soup and stir through.
- Taste the soup and season well with salt and pepper and stir through fresh parsley.
- Serve immediately with fresh bread.
- You can use any combination of vegetables you like - I love using onion, carrot, celery, kumara, pumpkin and silverbeet or spinach.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for 6 months.