- In a large pot, brown the ham hocks and bacon in the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until meat is tender.
- Remove the ham hocks and let cool on a plate. Remove and shred the meat from the hocks. Set aside. Strain the broth through a sieve. Discard the vegetables and bacon. You will need 2 litres (8 cups). Set aside.
- In the same pot, soften the leek and garlic in the butter. Add the reserved broth, the carrots, beans, and barley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour or until the barley is tender. Add the spinach and reserved meat. Add chicken broth or water, if needed. Adjust the seasoning.
The next day, add broth as needed, as the barley will continue to absorb liquid. The recipe makes a good 10 servings and is perfect to freeze.