I got into making soup with ham hocks when I lived in AZ in the mid 90's. It all started with a recipe for posole. I couldn't find oxtails at the time so it could have been oxtails that I got into. I did find ham hocks and it was a great discovery for me. I have been using them ever since. Recently, my friend Sandy (from Quilting For The Rest Of Us), turned me on to the ham hocks at an Amish (or should I say, Mennonite) store near where we live. Great discovery! Best ham hocks ever!
KALE, CANNELINI AND HAM HOCK SOUP
1 large ham hock
2 large bay leaves
1 large onion (about a cup and a half), chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes (about 2 cups), peeled and chopped
1/2 to 1 pound of kale, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cannelini beans
2-3 quarts chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
In a soup pot, soak beans overnight. Drain in the morning and add a ham hock and chicken stock to the beans, cover and cook on low heat (just barely simmering) until beans are nearly tender. Add in carrots, potatoes, garlic, kale, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook until carrots and potatoes are tender.