There’s nothing like a ham hock to add smoky flavor to hearty soups, bean and lentil dishes, stews, greens and other winter fare. The hock is the lower portion of a hog’s hind leg.
But many people don’t eat ham, and many of those who do should cut back on cholesterol and salt.
As we were preparing to make a 12-bean soup this weekend, we recalled a tip from Top Chef audience favorite Carla Hall: Use smoked turkey drumsticks instead of ham hocks.
(If you want pork for your recipe but can’t find ham hocks, substitute two-to-four ounces per hock with: chopped bacon, guanciale [cured smoked hog jowl], cubed ham, chopped salt pork, a ham bone or smoked sausage.)
Carla, a Nashville native, loves Southern food and eats lots of greens. To make them healthier, she uses smoked turkey instead of ham hocks, and adds Brussels sprouts—leaves separated—for extra nutrition.
Another tip: Carla makes a healthy sweet potato mash with olive oil and orange zest.
Things you don’t know about Carla Hall
She’s a CPA! An alumna of Howard University’s School of Business, she worked for Price Waterhouse for two years. She then took a 180-degree turn and spent several years as a model on the runways of London, Milan and Paris. In Paris she fell in love with the art of food, and voilà!
Know Your Pig Parts
What’s the difference between a back rib and a spare rib? Pork belly and pancetta? American bacon and British bacon?
Become a pig parts expert.
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