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Ham Stock: making it, and uses for....

I would like to hear from folks about their experience with ham stock.

-How have you made it, with what cuts?
-Are there substitutions, for example can you use ham ham hocks instead of a ham bone?
-Do you bake them first for a brown stock? Do you use tomato paste?

-Good soup recipes for ham stock?
-Other uses? Do you distill it down to a ham demi? Recipes for sauces?

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  1. I prefer a ham bone over hocks...However; good (emphasis on good) smoked hocks work well ~~ I do not brown ~~~ I do not use tomato paste or any other tomato product ~~~ 99% of the time I use the stock for Red Beans & Rice....Sometimes for Greens....

    Have Fun & Enjoy!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Bob

      My first time out I found smoked ham shank at the store locally. After I cut off some of the good meat for later, I roasted it for an hour with carrot and onion and threw it in a stockpot overnight.

      What I got was a rich dark brown stock with deep flavor.
      We used it for pumpkin bacon soup a la Fergus Henderson.

      -But beyond that, I am stumped on where else I would use it. I thought it might make a terrific Ramen broth base.

      1. re: roster

        I deglaze the roaster pan in which I cook whole hams. I get a really gelatinous deep rich stock (no veg flavors could get through this) and my main concern is not to use too much as the salt is also in the stock.
        Split Pea Soup is my go to soup with the left over odd bits of ham plus carrots, some onion, some thyme and a few bay leaves.
        I'll use it as an undercurrent flavor for cooked dried beans and I may use some to finish fresh green beans if I don't use bacon fat with them.

        1. re: roster

          When I have a leftover ham bone or two, I'll throw it in with some chicken or beef bones to round out the flavor a little, and use it for either Ramen type noodle soups or kimchi soup. Yum.

      2. I never make ham stock. There are better uses for my freezer space than for storing water. Ham is so flavorful that it can be used as is, straight into recipes.
        I try to take advantage of supermarket sales on ham. Bake, the whole thing, then cut it into fist-sized chunks for later use in Red Beans, pea soup, gumbos, jambalaya, or whatever. The chunks are wrapped individually for the freezer so I can take out what I need.
        The ham bone and drippings from the roasting pan make one dynamite batch of beans, and I put containers of cooked beans into the freezer for quick meals.
        The hock is just the end part of the leg of the ham, the end of the shank. No difference in flavor. More bone/waste so they're usually cheaper, unless you're buying whole hams.
        Browning always intensifies flavor by evaporating some of the water and caramelizing sugars. The ham chunks that I have baked/roasted always taste better than when I don't do this.
        No, I never use tomato or much seasoning in any stocks that I make. This limits what you can use them for later. Best to keep them as neutral as possible.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense

          Thanks, all good suggestions. I am not sure I agree that saving ham stock is a waste of freezer space. I am starting to think there are lots of uses for ham and ham bones besides beans and split pea soup.

          I think it is used to make Shanton broth for a lot of chinese dishes. Anybody out there tried to make this?

          1. re: MakingSense

            when making brown beans use the drippings in place of water use the bone on the next batch of beans always keep enough water in the cooking beans. after the first day make chili both are good with corn bread u can use it in any green bean dried frozen fresh or canned...
            lots of greens can be cooked in the drippings. anything u could add ham or beacon to. use it with the ham grease
            (if u need to use more shortening to make enough grease) to make gravy put it in your stew add normal fixens ....

          2. There's few things I like better than a ham-based risotto or orzotto. And home-made stock? Well worth finding the freezer space. As for making it, I put ham in water and simmer it until the ham is done. The only secret is to use damn good ham.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ferdzy

              I like to cook my stock way down before freezing it. That way, an ice-cube sized amount will do a pot of soup.

              1. re: jvanderh

                Ham demi, exactly.
                I was trying to think of a sauce that you could drizzle over other cuts made of ham demi, butter, a bit of desired herb and maybe some shot of brandy or port, or marsala...
                Just a variation of a prety standard sauce with beef or chicken stock. have no reason to think it would not be good with ham stock...

                Might be good on pork chops, over polenta or maybe even roast chicken to give that smoky element....

              2. re: Ferdzy

                +1 to risotto. We make arancini a lot, and ham stock makes the arborio even sweeter.

              3. I don't feel complete unless I have ham stock in the freezer! Whenever I buy a smoked ham, I save the bone and scraps for stock (I do not ever do this with a glazed or honeybaked ham). Cover with water, and simmer for a couple hours. Strain and return to pot. I usually reduce mine a lot, so I can fit more in the freezer, just add water when you use it. While it's reducing, pick the good pieces from the bone to add back to the stock before you freeze it. I usually freeze flat in ziplocs, that way if I only need a little (like to flavor collards/kale/mustard greens, etc) I can break a chunk off.

                Mostly, I make plain ole bean soup. Navy beans in that rich stock with the added ham bits, add some grated carrot and/or chopped celery and onion sometimes. Nothing beats that, with a big squirt of hot sauce and some hot buttered cornbread. Plain food, but fabulous. Peace!

                1. It never occurred to me to make and freeze ham stock but now I'm inspired. Obviously it would be great for bean or pea soups when you don't have a ham bone on hand. But I love the idea of pumpkin/squash-type soups and ramen broth. It would be good in anything you'd put a little bit of bacon into wouldn't it? I start a lot of soups and stews with a couple of slices of bacon so it would be useful to have one-cup containers for this purpose. Also for braising greens. You could use it for making rice which you plan on turning into fried rice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                    Great idea on using it to make rice....the stock would make for an awesome ham fried rice. I might even throw some kimchee in that too..