Ham Hock and Cabbage Soup

After you have eaten all the turkey you can stand to even think about, make a pot of Ham Hock and Cabbage Soup. Dig some of that cabbage out of the freezer from the summer. And everyone knows a good Southern cook always has ham hocks on hand. This will warm the soul in the awful damp, cold, rainy weather. At least it's not snowing, yet.

While the soup is cooking make your favorite cornbread or My Favorite Cornbread.

Ham Hock and Cabbage Soup
8 main-course servings
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1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 ham hock (about 1 pound)
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
6 cups chopped cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups chicken/turkey broth
3 cups peeled and cubed red potatoes (about 1 pound)

1. Heat the oil in a large deep pot over high heat. Add the bacon and fry until it is slightly crisp. Add the ham hock, onions, and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onions are slightly wilted.

2. Add the cabbage, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, salt, and cayenne. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 1 hour, or until the cabbage and potatoes are soft and tender.

3. Remove the ham hock from the soup. Pick off the meat and add to the pot. Skim off any fat that has risen to the surface and remove the bay leaves.

4. Serve in large soup bowls.

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