Ham Hock and Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce Soup with Red Beans

, from Issue #72. May, 2017
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Ham Hock and Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce Soup with Red Beans

The chipotle peppers will give the soup a delicious, rich smoky flavour but they can be quite fiery so don’t be heavy-handed unless you know everyone enjoys a bit of spice. 

Serves: 4–6


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each smoked paprika and ground cumin
1–2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped (from a jar or tin in adobo sauce)
1–2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from the chipotle)
5 cups chicken stock
400 grams agria potatoes, peeled and diced
2 meaty ham hocks
400-gram tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 stalks cavolo nero or small silverbeet leaves, shredded and blanched
sea salt and ground pepper

To serve: Crispy Cavolo Nero, see recipe below

Crispy Cavolo Nero
8 long leaves cavolo nero
olive oil and sea salt


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, spices, chipotle peppers and the sauce and cook for 1 minute. 

Add the stock, potatoes and the hocks. Season with salt and pepper then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with the lid and simmer gently until the meat is falling off the bones, about 2 hours.  

Lift the hocks out and set aside until cool enough to handle. Pull off the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin, fat and bones. Add back to the saucepan along with the red beans and cavolo nero and bring back to the boil. Taste and season, if required.

To serve: Ladle into bowls and serve with the Crispy Cavolo Nero, if using. Serves 4–6

Crispy Cavolo Nero

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan bake.

Wash the leaves to remove any grit, then dry well with kitchen towels. Brush both sides with oil and season with salt. Place on a flat baking tray and roast for 5 minutes or until they’re a darker green and crisp, turning once. Cooking time will depend on the size and freshness of the cavolo nero.