Smoked ham hock
I love all bean based soups, and most of the recipes I've seen & tasted seem to include a smoked ham hock kind of product. Does anyone know where I can purchase a ham hock, or a small bone-in ham type of product in Toronto...preferably in the midtown area? I've very close to the Whitehouse meats on Bayview, but they didn't have anything like that when I went, nor did Loblaws/Dominion etc.
Also, is a ham hock high fat? I'd love a way to add a smokey, porky flavour to bean soups without having to resort to something very fatty (ie. sausuages, bacon, chorizo etc).
Try the St. Clair Delicatessen at 748 St. Clair W., near Rushton just west of Christie -- a great Hungarian source for all things smoked. Even their potato salad has a good smoky flavour.
The little bit of fat that finds its way into your soup will be worth it for the extra flavour -- though you could always cool the soup and skim off the offending layer if you wanted to look like Maria Shriver.
For the record, I think Maria Shriver looks fantastic!
Secondly, you can often find ham hocks at St. Lawrence Market on the weekends...most of the butchers have them there, but you have to ask sometimes. You should ask the guys at Whitehouse about it though, and I'm sure they can get it for you. There's also a place up in Stratford that I can't recall the name of right now, but that sells just pork products. Bought some ham hocks, peameal bacon, etc. from them and they were the best I've ever tasted.
Not too much fat, but pretty high in sodium/salt.
If it's smoke you're looking for, might I suggest a smoky drink accompaniment: authentic Rauchbier from Bavaria.
Rauchbier is produced with malt kilned over an open beech wood flame. It is likely to be one of the funkiest beers you will ever encounter, and your life will be incomplete until such time.
The LCBO currently has Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier in stock (sku #409110).
European Meats in Kensington Market carries smoked ham hocks.
If you're extremely hungry and/or have many mouths to feed, they have a tasty whole smoked bone-in pork shoulder that goes for $0.99/lb (average weight around 10lbs). I've used the bone (and meat) from this product to flavour soups and baked beans, with delicious results.