2 medium sized Lepp’s ham hocks
12 cups water
4 bay leaves
Reserved ham stock
2 large onions, chopped
2 carrots, grated
6 medium Yukon gold potatoes (3.5 lbs.)
2 X 750 ml jars of Fermented Sauerkraut, drained
1 bunch flat Italian parsley, tied with string
2 dried red chilies, placed in a metal spice ball if you have one
½ ring Lepp’s farmer sausage, cut lengthwise into quarters, and then sliced into ¼ inch slices (optional, but Farmer Rob loves his meat!)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream or whole milk. (I love to use Agassiz’s Farm House non-homogenized whole milk in place of heavy cream as it doesn’t separate like a low fat milk would if the soup comes to a boil. However the curdled appearance doesn’t affect the taste)
Toss the ham hocks and bay leaves into a stockpot and cover them with 12 cups of water. Bring the water to a full boil then adjust the heat so it just barely maintains a simmer. Continue cooking the hocks until they are fork tender and the broth is flavourful, about 2-3 hours. Using a pair of tongs pull out the bones and break the larger chunks of meat into smaller pieces. Reserve the meat and the broth.
Add onion, carrot, diced potatoes, drained sauerkraut, diced farmer sausage and reserved ham meat to the soup and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 30-45 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Add cream or milk and reheat just to boiling point.
This soup definitely benefits from being a day ahead and allowing the flavours to develop over night!