Ham hock and celery soup recipe

March 15, 2024

You can buy ham hocks smoked or unsmoked, and while the former will deliver more depth of flavour, either will work for this dish. If you can buy leaf celery, with its balance of small, tender stalks and leaves, it’s great here too.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours




For the ham hock

  • 1 ham hock (about 1kg), soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery (the leafier the better), roughly chopped (leaves reserved)
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few thyme sprigs

For the soup

  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 20g plain flour
  • 2-3 sticks of celery (the leafier the better), cut into rough 1cm dice (leaves reserved)


  1. Rinse the hock and place it in a pan. Add enough water to cover it well, plus the onion, celery, peppercorns and herbs. 
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 90 minutes, topping up with water if necessary, until the meat is falling away from the bone. Remove any fat from the surface with a ladle and strain the stock. 
  3. For the soup itself, melt the butter in a pan and cook the onion on a low heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring to avoid it browning. Add the flour and stir well, then gradually add 1.5 litres of the stock (top it up to 1.5 litres with water if necessary), stirring well to avoid lumps forming. 
  4. Simmer gently for an hour then add the diced celery and continue cooking for 10 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the ham hock and cut about 200g of it, skin and all, into rough 2cm chunks. Add this to the soup. Keep the rest of the hock for salads or sandwiches. 
  6. Finely chop the celery leaves and add to the soup. Season, simmer for a minute and serve.
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