Ham, smoked eel and chicken wing soup

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

Start this recipe a day ahead to prepare the confit chicken wingettes.

  • 100 gm pearl barley
  • ½ smoked eel (180gm total; see note), skin and fillet removed from the bone, cut into 12 pieces
  • 6 thin slices jamón serrano, torn into small pieces
  • To serve: baby chard leaves (see note)
  •  
  • Ham hock stock
  • 1 medium ham hock (about 1.2kg), halved crossways
  • ½ carrot, coarsely chopped
  • ½ onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small fresh bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • ¼ tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 gm (½ cup) shaved bonito flakes
  •  
  • Confit chicken wings
  • 12 chicken wingettes (middle section of the wing)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 litre vegetable oil, plus 2 tbsp extra for frying
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
01   For confit chicken wings, place the wingettes in a large dish, add garlic and thyme, and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
02   For ham hock stock, place the hock in a medium saucepan, add vegetables, herbs and peppercorns, and enough water (about 1.6 litres) to just cover the hock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until meat is falling from the bone (2-2½ hours). Let the hock cool in the stock, then remove, pull meat from bones, cut into bite-size pieces and set aside. Strain stock (discard solids), add bonito flakes and set aside for 10 minutes to infuse, then strain through a fine sieve, pressing on the bonito flakes to extract as much liquid as possible. Makes 1 litre.
03   Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 90C. Line a roasting pan with foil and arrange the wingettes on top in a single layer. Heat the oil slightly and pour over wings. Cover the pan tightly with foil and cook until bones pull out easily, leaving the wingettes in shape (2-2½ hours). While still warm, remove all the bones and place wingettes on a tray lined with baking paper, then top with another sheet of baking paper, place another tray on top and weight with food cans or other light weights, and refrigerate until chilled and pressed (at least 3 hours or overnight).
04   Dust the skin side of the wingettes with flour, shaking off excess. Heat extra vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and arrange wingettes skin-side down in pan, then cook until golden (4-6 minutes).
05   Meanwhile, rinse barley in a sieve under cold running water. Place in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until just tender (10 minutes). Drain and refresh in cold water, then drain again.
06   To serve, warm ham stock in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Place browned chicken wings, smoked eel and ham hock pieces in serving bowls, pour ham stock over, then divide barley, jamón and cress among each.

Note Smoked eel is available from select delicatessens and specialist seafood suppliers, but may need to be ordered ahead. Baby chard leaves can be ordered through select greengrocers.

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