You can make this soup quickly or slowly. The quick method is accomplished by simmering everything together for about half an hour. The slow method requires simmering the hocks in broth or water for a couple of hours, removing the hocks, then cooling the liquid, refrigerating it, skimming off the fat, then adding in the vegetables and hock meat and proceeding with the soup. Both methods make good eating soup. I prefer the second method, I feel the broth acquires a richer flavor and if you don’t have the full amount of broth, or none at all, the hocks make the broth. If you don’t have hocks, you can use chopped, smoked ham; smoked sausage; smoked turkey drumsticks; smoked bacon; a ham bone. These subs are best in the quick version. If your subs aren’t smoked, you can also add in a few drops of liquid smoke (follow the instructions on the bottle).
6 medium turnips, peeled and chopped or cubed
6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped or diced; or other roots, alone or in combination
1 1/2 c peeled, chopped onion
1 bay leaf
2 ham hocks or 1 large ham hock
7 c pork or chicken broth; or broth/water combination
salt and ground black pepper, to taste (remember smoked meat can be salty)
crushed red pepper flakes
fresh, chopped herb, for garnish, optional
1. For the quick version, combine the turnips, carrots, onion, bay leaf, hocks, and broth in a soup pot. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, skimming any scum from the surface of the broth, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the hocks from the broth and allow to cool enough to handle. Remove meat from the bones, trim fat, and shred. Add the shredded meat back to the soup. Taste for seasonings and serve, sprinkled with red pepper flakes and garnished with fresh, chopped herb.
2. For the slow version, put the hocks into a soup pot with the broth, broth/water, or all water. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 2 hours, skimming off any surface scum. Remove hocks from liquid. Allow broth to cool, then refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours, preferably 8. Shred meat from hocks, then refrigerate meat as well. Remove broth and meat from fridge. Skim off any fat. Gently reheat. Put meat, along with turnips, carrots, onion, bay leaf, salt, and pepper into pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Serve, sprinkled with red pepper flakes and garnished with fresh, chopped herb.