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Summer Beet Soup

  Put the ham hock in a 6-quart pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, skim off scum, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender-- about 1 hours. Remove the hock and take off all the meat, cutting it into bite-size pieces. discard bone, Put meat back in the pan with the cabbage, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, beets, dill, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook slowly for at least 20 minutes. remove sprigs of dill and thyme, if used. Add beet tops and cook 2 minutes until wilted. Remove pan from heat and stir in the sour cream and chives just before serving. This is best served in deep soup plates or large bowls.

Makes 6 servings

2 lbs. smoked ham hock or ham end
water to cover ham
1 med. head green cabbage, shredded or diced
2 med. onions, chopped
3 med. potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 c. peeled and sliced red beets
3 sprigs fresh or 1 t. dried dill
3 sprigs fresh or 1/2 t. dried thyme
2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. chopped beet tops
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. chopped chives

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