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best way to make use of my meaty meaty hambone....

  • j

I have managed to widdle away at my ham from the christmas holiday, and after many meals of ham sandwiches, ham fried rice, ham omellettes, and ham and crackers, i have finally conceded to just throwing the rest in a pot. BUT HOW?
any suggestions? i was thiking a nice lentil soup, but how? what else is good for dispensing of a meaty hambone?
i don't have a dog, but i do have a husband, and while they are sometimes interchangeable, in this matter i cant pretend and just serve him the bone on a plate (even though i would prefer it that way, he is not as carnivourous as i am.)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and happy new year.

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  1. I got a hold of the leftover ham bone from the office (long story), and made a simple, yet awesome, split pea soup.

    6 Replies
    1. re: AlanH

      what exactly is a plit pea?
      i have only ever had canned split pea soup, and therefore, i hate the stuff, but Rob likes it and he keeps asking me to make it.
      what is it exactly?
      is it really mushy peas?
      dried peas?

      1. re: jupiter

        Split peas are little green peas. When soaked, then cooked correctly they essentially turn into a thick green mush. I used my leftover ham from Turkey Day to make a delicious batch with fresh (albeit leftover) veggies (onions, carrots, celery, peppers, etc.).

        the link below is an example of one recipe (from Google)

        The peas come in a bag (or may be bought in bulk) and can be found at most decent supermarkets.

        Link: http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~mjw/recipes/...

        1. re: Dax

          Green? Yellow split pea soup can be even better. In either case, cook hambone with onion, garlic, celery, carrots. For seasoning, I usually use bay leaves, whole allspice, thyme, and black pepper. If the stock lacks salt and/or flavor, I add chicken bouillion or ham base. Cook the bone for 3 hrs with a whole onion, the base of a bunch of celery, a carrot or two (uncut, unpeeled), and several whole cloves of garlic (If the ham has a lot of fat, this step can be done in advance and the stock can be chilled and fat lifted off the top before proceding). In any case, before adding the dried peas and chopped veggies, strain the stock and discard what's in the strainer. If there is alot of ham on the bone, you can put it back into the soup. When your stock is ready, cook the peas (no point in pre-soaking) for 2-3 hours, stirring regularly, along with carrot slices, diced celery, and chopped onion. The stirring is to help break up the peas and to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Sometimes to vary the texture I will add pearl barley or (toward the end) diced potatoes. While this recipe does take some time, it is easy to do and does not require you to be in the kitchen, except occasionally to stir things up.

          1. re: e.d.

            My mother made split pea soup regularly (a welcome break from hamburgers every Weds. before religious ed!) and always served it to us with garnishes of fresh chopped onion, finely diced fresh carrot, good crunchy homemade croutons, and small dice of a good swiss cheese. We all loved it, and I still serve it like this. People are usually surprised and pleased.

            1. re: annieb

              Wow, what a great idea. I will adopt this fresh-garnish technique for my split pea soup. Thank your mother!

        2. re: jupiter

          If you go to the dried beans, or dried soup mix section of your supermarket you will see packages of Split peas. There are green ones and also yellow ones. Usually thre's a half decent recipe on the back of the package. They are pretty much dried peas.

      2. If I had that ham bone, I wouldn't have to think twice. Navy bean soup! I'll attach a link to the U.S. Senate bean soup, as a starting point. I use half water and half chicken stock, and like to add a good dollop of a spicy chili sauce to the soup at some point. It freezes well, if any is left. I like a loose stock that I dunk my cornbread into.

        It's worth buying a ham, just to get the bone! Pat

        Link: http://members.aol.com/msluv2cook/Sav...

        1. Split peas are dried peas. They are called "split" because the are already broken in the package when you buy them. Unlike other dried pulses (beans, peas, and lentils), in split peas, the brokenness is desirable.

          I finally came round to split pea soup when I passed 30. My husband loves it and begs for it often. I laughed at your "interchangeable" comment. My dogs would love to trade places with my husband for a hambone too.

          Split Pea soup

          1 package (usually 16 ounces) dried split peas
          8 cups water, or use half-and-half with homemade chicken stock
          3 carrots, diced
          3 stalks celery, diced smaller than the carrots
          1 clove of garlic, minced
          1 onion, either minced or grated (your preference)
          1 teaspoon dried oregano
          1 teaspoon dried thyme
          Salt to taste (start with a 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt -- the meat may contribute a lot of salt depending on the cure)
          White pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon to start)
          1 hambone, or 2 hamhocks, or 3 smoked sausages, thinly sliced.

          If there is any sliceable meat to take of the hambone, do so and cut into uniform bite sized pieces. Leave a good amount on the hambonee. If you are using hamhocks, leave them as is. If you are using smoked sausages, leave them in the refrigerator until later.

          Place all the ingredients (if you are using the hocks or the hambone) in a large pot. Stir to incorporate occasionally as this comes to a boil. Don't let it get to a full boil, but rather let it break a boil and then reduce heat quickly to as low as your burner will go to maintain a simmer. Cover the soup and let it simmer, stirring occasionally to make sure it's not burning to the bottom, for at least 3 hours. Any additional bits of meat should be coming off the bones by now. If they need to be broken up, take two long forks and shred them into the soup as it cooks.

          (If you are using smoked sausages, after 3 hours has elapsed, take them out of the refrigerator, slice them thinly, and let them cook in the simmering, covered soup for an additional 1/2 hour).

          Turn off the heat, stir to break up any lumped-together peas (it should be uniformly grean and have dissolved almost completely into a pea-y mass, and not be individual peas anymore), and let sit uncovered for at least 15 minutes before serving.

          Serve in wide shallow bowls, as this is very hot, and you may grate Parmigiano-Reggiano over this if you like. It's good with a grind or two of black pepper, but this should be done at the table, as some people object to black pepper in this soup.

          Some people puree this in the blender or with an immersian blender, or put it through a chinois before eating. I never do, as I prefer the little soft chunks of carrots and celery that make it through the simmering. Do as your taste dictates.

          This makes about 6-8 dinner-type servings.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Mrs. Smith

            It's a tough call between this and the Senate White Bean Soup recipe.

            A mix of hambone and smoked hamhocks makes for a richer flavor, I think. My wife and I like to wait until the soup's finished cooking, then pull out the hamhock and separate the meat, shred and put it back in.

            Also, I like to mix in a little warmed sherry when serving.

            My mother is a big fan of the yellow split peas she found at the Dekalb Farmer's Market in Atlanta (#87 in the new Saveur 100). Have bought some but haven't tried them yet. This weekend's cold weather may be a good excuse.

            1. re: ted

              Pea soup is food of the Gods, but it cries out for smoked hamhocks. A hambone is great in a big pot of pinto or navy beans w/cornbread and collards. How I wish I had a big meaty hambone to do with as I pleased!

              1. re: ted

                I instantly thought Senate White Bean soup (Joy of Cooking). Well, not instantly, I was first thinking amusing things about the title of this thread.

                1. re: yumyum

                  Yeah. I heard that song on the radio once. Gritty, gritty blues number. "... going to Chicago, to get my hambone boiled ..."

            2. Although I am a big fan of split pea soup and would use the bone for that another possibility is baked beans. A ham bone makes for really good baked beans.

              1. All great suggestions, but where's the folks from the New Orleans board? Make some red beans with it! The basics are pretty easy, just saute some onions and maybe a little bit of green pepper, toss in the bone, presoaked red beans and cover with water add your favourite spices, but be sure to include a bay leaf or two and some thyme and let it all cook down until its nice and thick. After cooking long enough you can pull the bone out, take the meat off the bone, toss the meat back into the pot and get rid of the bone as well as any excess fatty peices you can pick out. At some point you can toss in some sausage or if you want just wait until your done and serve it along side over some nice rice.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jambalaya

                  Red beans, yes, definitely. Don't forget the garlic (lots of garlic), some hot sauce, maybe some minced parsley.


                2. s
                  Stanley Stephan

                  Well, I would vote for the pea soup.

                  However, to give you some additional recipes to consider, here are some Polish ideas:

                  Cabbage soup

                  Fill a soup pot with water, add ham bone and some bayleaves and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 - 60 minutes.
                  Remove bone. Remove meat from bone and put meat back in pot. Add 1 whole cabbage quartered, carrots, potatoes and cook until veggies are done. You can add other veggies that you like. Sometimes I put in onions or canned tomaatoes. Good with a slice of rye bread.

                  sauerkraut Soup

                  Put Ham bone in soup pot. Rinse a large can of sauerkraut to remove salt. Add to pot with one chopped apple, 1 onion silced, 1/2 cup cabbage cut in chunks, 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds. Cover with water and cook until vegetables are done. Actually, it's hard to overcook this one. Serve with pan fried potatoes.

                  Both soups improve with age.

                  1. Well,
                    all of these suggestions are quite good.
                    i was sort of hoping that there would be a really weird one, sort of like, "wrap the thing in a pineapple and then encase it in mashed potatoes and bake for 45 minutes and then eat like corn on the cob" but alas, i have decided to do something with white beans, since that is what i picked up at athe store on my lunch break.
                    white beas and potatoes and some aromatics and my big bone that i will stew all toghether low and slow and then puree the hell out of and see what happens. i have some ideas....
                    whatever i come up with i will let you all know on sunday.
                    ham fried rice is an excellent way to use up excess ham!
                    i kind of wish there was still enough ham left to make another batch....

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jupiter

                      Well, the die is already cast...I don't know anything about white beans, but that will be interesting...The best thing I know to do with a hambone is to make a truly awesome pot of pinto beans to serve with fresh cornbread. We had a memorable mess of pintos and cornbread after I came into possession of the hambone from the office Thanksgiving party (can you believe no one else wanted it?!). Just for something different, today I bought some black beans to make black beans and rice with the hambone from New Year's Day.
                      Have fun!

                      1. re: Zorra

                        I often make Great Northern (white) bean soup with a ham bone, or a smoked ham hock, some chopped onion, a bay leaf....maybe some diced carrots...usually I make a ham stock first, with the bone, a whole onion, a couple of whole carrots, and a serrano chile or two~and then cook the beans for a couple of hours in the finished stock, and put the cooked ham meat in at the end. Yum...I just finished a pot of that this week.

                    2. I love this site! I just got on to ask what to do with my hambone and jupiter beat me to it. Now I can't decide between the split pea and the cabbage soup. Thanks!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Barbara

                        Oh, make the split pea soup. I don't even love the stuff, but this is a link to the recipe I used and it was terrific.

                        For the record, I am not a fan of the Bam Bam Man, Emeril, but he can cook. One aside. The recipe calls for a pound of Smithfield ham, which I did not use. I just used about half a pound of leftover scraps, and what came from the bone, and it was just lovely. I also recommend that instead of merely scoring the bone, you really give it a good crack open with a cleaver. It will enhance the flavor of the broth (and use that broth for your soup, don't start over with "new" water--what an idea!).

                        Link: http://foodtv.com/foodtv/recipe/0,625...

                      2. r
                        Ron Rosenbaum

                        A nice pot of Caldo Gallego would be an excellent way to use up that hambone. Or a pot of collard, mustard, or turnip greens. Or sauerkraut.

                        1. The whole point of including the ham bone in any recipe is to cook the marrow from the bone and into the dish. Therefore, it's desirable to crack the bone or saw it into several pieces in order to expose more marrow during the cooking process.

                          1. I find if I boil the hambone til the meat falls off it, there's usually enough stock for several soup recipes. I freeze the excess stock, then make the soup I crave when I feel like it.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: ironmom

                              I also make a stock from the "bits and Pieces" of country ham you can find cheap and it's great for beans, pease, etc.

                              1. re: annieb

                                Lucky you, they don't sell that up North here.

                                1. re: annieb

                                  They do in Chicago, if you know where to look.

                                  1. re: annieb

                                    I haven't been to Chicago in 35 years.

                                    1. re: ironmom

                                      Where are you? I used to bring these back from the east coast until I found a place to buy them locally.

                                      1. re: annieb

                                        I live in Maine. The only country ham I saw until recently was cryovac slices at the gourmet store for big $$.

                                        Now Walmart has whole country hams, but that's a huge amount of salty meat.

                                        1. re: ironmom

                                          Well, look for them in your travels further south. In Boston, perhaps, or NYC in African American neighborhoods.

                                          There are some good mail order sources, but they tend to sell the premium product ("biscuit slices") rather than the bits and pieces.

                                          1. re: annieb

                                            I'll probably wait and shell out for a whole one when my freezer gets enough room. That's a lot cheaper than a road trip.

                                            1. re: ironmom

                                              and as i can attest to, there are a lot of wonderful things you can do with a ham in your firdge:
                                              chef salads, ham fried rice, bean soup, omelettes....the list goes on.
                                              i was hoping to have some to stuff into biscuits or scones, but i ran out too soon.
                                              thre used to be a great bakery that i went to that would make ham and cheddar cheese scones and they were AMAZING. you could make those too....

                                              1. re: Jupiter

                                                I think with a country ham I would probably slice it up and freeze it in portions for breakfast frying. Scraps and bones for soup stock.

                                                I think it is a little salty, even if soaked, to be all purpose.

                              2. So Jupiter what did you make? How was it? I used Mrs. Smith's split pea recipe and it was awesome! Thanks Mrs. Smith. Next time I'm planning on Stanley Stephan's cabbage soup.

                                1. wow.
                                  ok, so now it is monday and i have been eating this soup all weekend and it is AWESOME
                                  here is what i did:
                                  i bought a bag of great northern beans and took them home and soaked them. Then on saturday morning i put my hambone inot a pot with 5 large garlic cloves, 7 or 8 fresh bay leaves, 1 can of chicken stock, my presoaked and rinsed beans, and enough water to fill the 8 quart stockpot i put it all in.
                                  i then let all this slowly simmer for about 3 or 4 hours. at this point the house was fragrant with hammy goodness and bay leaf essence.
                                  Rob and i were pacing....
                                  i then removed the ham bone and bay leaves and added one chopped celery stalk, one chopped carrot, one chopped onion and two chopped peeled yukon gold potatoes, and a small sprinkle of whole black peppercorns. I let all this simmer some more for about an hour until the vegetables were fork tender. (isn't that a crazy term? "fork tender" hmmm. that sounds weird to me this morning)
                                  anyway, THEN i stick blended it all into a smooth puree and added all the left over ham meat that i pulled apart into stringy strips (like you do with chicken meat for your soups) and then warmed up some crusty italian loaf and at that point it had been like 6 hours of dealing with the smell so we fell upon our bowl like ravenous wolves and consumed 3 bowls each with half a loaf of bread!
                                  jeez....if this is peasant food, then i want to be a peasant for ever.....
                                  (i guess the only ingredient missing was a stone....)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: jupiter

                                    Good for you, Jupiter. It sounds delicious. If you and your husband crave this soup and you don't have a hambone handy, make it with some ham hocks.

                                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                                      I did almost the same thing on Sunday with split peas. Yum.

                                  2. I too am gradually consuming a large holiday ham. I had gotten a bit sick of all that pork and was running out of ways to cook it. Yesterday, I had an epiphany and turned to Mexican cuisine, making spicy shredded pork enchiladas, which turned out very tasty. The hambone is next!