Ham is one of my favorite meats and I always like to buy a ham with a bone. First, I think it tastes better and secondly I love the soup you can make with the bone, which typically has a lot of meat left after cutting all the slices off. The bone is easy to throw in the freezer – with all the meat pieces attached – and pull out when you are ready to make this delicious and versatile ham bone soup.
Making soup with a ham bone starts pretty simple: put the ham bone in a pot (whew, glad we got through that). Cover the bone with water and add a chopped onion. I’m using a slow cooker today (my favorite way to do this), but you can cook the bone on the stove top for a couple of hours just as easily. To use the slow cooer, cook on Low 5 hours or 2-3 on High.
When the meat is starting to fall off the bone (or you get home from work, or the timer dings…whatever), remove it from the liquid (now a wonderful ham broth) and set it on a cutting board to cool. Once you can touch it without burning your hands off, pull the meat off, cut up any big pieces and remove any remaining fat before adding the meat back to the broth in the pot.
This is where the versatility comes into play. From this base of broth, onion, and ham you can create a split-pea soup, a ham and potato chowder, or a simple vegetable, ham, and bean soup. Since I had the pictured leftovers in my fridge to use up, I went with the vegetable-ham-and-bean version. My leftovers included roast beef and carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, and a couple cups of Roasted Vegetable Bisque (the onion went in with the ham bone at the beginning).
At first glance you might not think these would work together in a ham soup, but I have found soup to be a dish that can bring many things together for the greater good. The greater good being a great bowl of soup.
Not world peace or anything like that.
And since I was going for a ham-and-bean type of soup, I defrosted some pre-cooked, frozen white beans to add to the soup. I could’ve chosen garbanzo or red beans (both stocked in the freezer), but went with white beans on this day. You ever just have a white bean day?
Add your chosen ingredients to the broth and ham in the pot (slow cooker or stove top) and any additional seasonings like garlic or thyme. Cook on low for another 3 to 4 hours (or about 1 hour on the stove top – just until everything is tender). This particular soup needed some green, so I added some peas in the last half hour of cooking in the slow cooker. Spinach, kale or chard would be good choices, too.PRINT
Versatile Ham Bone Soup
- Ham bone
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-3 c. choice of vegetables: celery carrots, peas, tomatoes, cabbage, kale, spinach, etc.
- 2 c. choice of cooked beans: white, red, garbanzo beans, lentils, etc.
- optional leftovers available (mashed potatoes, small bits of cooked vegetables and/or meats, rice, etc.)
- choice of seasonings: minced garlic, thyme, oregano, etc.
- salt and pepper
- Cover bone with water in pot of slow cooker or soup pot. Add chopped onion and cook for 4-5 hours on low or on the stove top for 1-2 hours.
- Remove bone from liquid, cool, then pull off meat and add back to pot.
- Add choice of vegetables and cooked beans, plus any leftovers and seasonings you’d like and cook again on Low for another 3-4 hours (or bring to boil, then simmer for about 1 hour on stove top). Add things like chopped greens or peas in the last half hour of cooking.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Makes a ton.
Do you like to make soup using a ham bone?
This is linked to Real Food Progressive Dinner- Soups