Your relatives have left and the house is finally quiet. As you clean up from the holidays, are you asking yourself what do to with all of the leftovers? The holiday ham was great and you’ve had ham sandwiches for a few days, but it’s wearing out it’s welcome. There are only so many ways to make ham sandwiches interesting. Ham and bean soup is the quintessential post-holiday meal. The soup is an easy way to use up your leftovers and freezes easily.
How to Make Ham Stock
To make the soup completely from scratch, use a ham stock. Homemade ham stock is simply made by boiling your ham bone with in a pot of boiling water for several hours. To make the stock more flavorful, add roughly chopped onions, carrots and celery. Fresh herbs such as sage, thyme or rosemary can be added as well if you have them on hand. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
After the stock is finished boiling, strain out all of the solids. If you’re using the stock immediately, rinse out your pot with water and return the stock to the pot to make the soup. If you won’t be using the stock right away, cool and refrigerate. Ham stock, just like ham and bean soup, can be frozen for up to a month.
Ham and Bean Soup
Ham and bean soup comes together quickly and can be altered to what ingredients you have on hand. Bring your homemade ham stock or a canned broth to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add leftover ham pieces and drained and rinsed beans. Simmer until heated through and you have the basic ham and bean soup. You can customize this base soup with vegetables such as carrots and celery. If you’re getting a jump start on a new year’s resolution to eat healthier, throw in kale or spinach at the end for added nutrition.
Ham and bean soup is one of those recipes that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Each family has their own way of make it. What do you put in your version of ham bone and bean soup?