*The smoked ham hock provides exceptional flavor in this soup. I trim some of the exterior fat before cooking and there is truly no flavor loss without it. I have also made this soup with all water and no chicken broth. In that case, you will need to add additional salt to replace what would have been in the broth.
**As a shortcut when using fresh thyme, I’ve recently started adding 2-3 nice sprigs and then remove the stems prior to serving. This imparts all the fresh flavor with one less thing to chop!
Leftovers: This recipe makes a generous batch that will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and freezes well. (They’re great for sharing with a friend, too.) Leftovers will thicken somewhat, which we enjoy, although you may add additional broth to thin if desired.