Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion or leek.
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 stalks of celery (or can substitute celery root) chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • One 2 pound whole sugar pumpkin, halved, seeds scooped out, flesh peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks (resulting in 3 1/2 cups or 1 pound of chunks) – Squash also works well!
  • 1/2  pound ham hock
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained OR 1 large fresh, ripe tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 sprigs of thyme, tied with string (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 large sage leaf (optional)
  • 4 large Swiss chard leaves or kale, center rib removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1 Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large, thick-bottomed pot (5 to 6 quart). Add the onion and the bay leaves and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Then add the chopped celery, cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Then add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.

2 Add the chopped pumpkin and the ham hock to the pot. Add the stock, tomatoes, and thyme. Increase heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, uncovered. Let simmer for an hour and a half.

3 Remove the ham hock from the soup pot, to a plate to let cool enough to handle.  Add the white beans and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chopped chard, simmer until chard is wilted, a few minutes more.

4 Strip the meat from the ham hock, chop it, and return to the pot. Add 1 to 2 cups of water to the soup to thin it to your preference. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Add black pepper and seasonings to taste.

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