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ham hock and bean soup

What do you do to keep ham hock and bean soup soup from being greasy. I cook the ham and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day when I look in the pot and see the congealed fat I get so turned off I just throw it out.

I guess I could pick out the meat but there really isn't much meat in ham hocks.

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  1. Just skim the fat off the top and throw it away.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Euonymous

      As stated in my post, I put it in the fridge overnight, in the morning I see that the whole pot is congealed fat and throw it aways

      1. re: sylvan

        the whole pot isn't congealed fat. you are throwing out the gelatinized broth.

        skim just the fat…the very top layer.

        or next time, use a hambone and not a hock.

        least fatty and least flavorful, using ham pieces cut from a ham.

    2. If you don't want to skim it off after it is soup, make a stock with the ham hocks and refrigerate that then skim it and make your beans.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Hank Hanover

        You could cook the hocks in just chicken stock cool hocks shred them. Put stock in fridge overnight. then pull off the fat cook beans then add hock meat back.

        1. re: Hank Hanover

          Hank, thanks, I'll try it that way

          1. re: sylvan

            If you do it that way and you want more ham, you can just add some cubed ham. If you are going to use don's idea, I think I would recommend half stock half water.

            Make sure you make some cornbread with them beans. Even the jiffy cornbread mix isn't bad. A whole lot better than none at all.

            1. re: Hank Hanover

              And chop some raw onion and spoon up the chow chow!

        2. As the others have said, spoon or scrape the fat off the stock, which should be easy once refrigerated. It isn't clear from your post whether you have refrigerated the stock to make soup the next day, or are refrigerating the soup, but either way the grease floats to the top and can be easily removed with a spoon once cold.

          If you are really turned off by the grease, consider making the ham stock first. Once you've simmered the stock be sure to remove the ham hock from the broth to pick out any meat chunks you want to save - depending on the size of the hock there may not be much meat. It is much easier to skim the fat if there are no other ingredients in the stock. Then finish the soup on day two with the defatted stock.

          While I understand that some folks are repulsed by fats, I relish the added flavor it gives in the soup.

          5 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks

            After making the stock, she could cubed ham in the soup if there isn't enough ham.

            1. re: janniecooks

              I cook the ham hocks and put it in the refriderator. The next day the Whole pot is congealed fat with the meat. I guess I could pull off the fat and throw out the rest of the pot of congealed fat and then add water to the meat and add the beans.

              1. re: sylvan

                Remove the ham hocks before refrigerating. the whole pot is NOT congealed fat, the fat has risen to the top and comprises a layer of that that may be at most 1/8 of an inch thick, in my experience. Removing the hocks and refrigerating the stock separately makes it extremely easy to just scrape off the fat later with a spoon, if you must. The rest of the pot contains all the goodness of the stock, and the gelatinous quality that you call congealed fat is not fat but is due to the collagen contained in the meat and bones that you have released and broken down through cooking. It is not fat and will melt back into a broth with great body once heated.

                1. re: janniecooks

                  you've straightened me out. I was incorrectly thinking that all the refriderated pot was fat and as you point out, the gelatinous mass is NOT fat. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I will always thank you.

            2. Since you don't enjoy the results from a ham hock, you might prefer making your soup with smoked turkey parts that many stores offer. Less fat but some good, smokey flavor.

              1. I agree with the refrigeration and skimming method. Better yet, just go down to Joey K's in NOLA on Wednesday and order their Lima Beans and Ham Hocks special with cornbread. It's pure heaven!

                1 Reply
                1. re: SonyBob

                  I'll have to run down there. It's only an 8 hour drive!. Although I haven't been there since Mayor Nagin made his "chocolate city" comments. I didn't figure they wanted any of my vanilla money.

                2. Cook sliced ham hocks, black beans, and a scotch bonnet pepper or two in the same pot. Have yourself some cooked rice handy, and then spoon that porky goodness all over the top.

                  1 Reply
                  1. No, no, no. The whole pot is not congealed fat--there is indeed a layer of fat on top, but underneath, the broth has jelled, like jello. Ham hocks have a lot of cartilege, and that makes for rich stock that will jel when it cools.

                    Like the other folks have said, the fat is on the top, and if you look closely, you will see the difference between the fat and the solidified stock.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sparrowgrass

                      Yes, there is no way your pot is all congealed fat. No way at all. Skim the fat from the top; you'll notice that it's hard and greasy. The rest of it, I'd bet, is more jiggly and has a completely different consistency than the fat you just skimmed. *That* consistency, as sparrowgrass said, is merely rich, gelatinous broth.

                      1. re: sparrowgrass

                        With ordinary stock and soup, the fat will rise to the top and congeal, and can easily be removed. Beans complicate matters; they absorb a lot of fat. So there might not be a distinct layer of fat on top. Instead the meat and beans may be surrounded by a mixture of bean juices, meat stock, and fat. Just how much fat there is depends on how how much fat there was on the hock.

                        The OP did not describe the hock. Some hocks are mostly bone, others bone and meat. Pork hocks (not smoked or cured) might have the skin and the layer of fat under the skin. The skin (and to a lesser degree the bone) contributes a lot gelatin to the soup. That gelatin, combined with the bean juices, can produce a stiff 'stock' when chilled.

                        No doubt the OP's soup was stiff, nearly solid, when chilled. But I doubt if it was all fat.

                        1. re: sparrowgrass

                          thanks, I understand now that not all the pot is fat and I should just leave the congealed/jellied mass in the soup...I had been throwing it away thinking it was total fat, I won't throw it away anymore. thanks

                        2. I made ham & bean soup for the first time last week with a ham hock (instead of a ham bone leftover from a spiral sliced ham, my usual way). I was truly surprised to see how the layer of fat began to congeal even when the pot went down to a low simmer. So much so that I took a photo!

                          The layer that was collecting on the top was very easily removed by using a wooden spoon and some paper towels (just taking the pot off of the heat for a few minutes), and spooning off the top layer of liquid into a fat strainer then simply pouring it away (the fat....returning the broth to the pot). I also removed the ham hock at this time from the pot then returned the meat to the soup before returning it back to a simmer to finish cooking.

                          Another surprise was that, upon refrigeration, the leftover soup was not nearly as congealed as the leftovers when I use a larger ham bone (that's probably the key, lots more collagen from the larger bone). In the end, I decided that I would make this again using the ham hock.

                          1. sylvan, you have now joined the realm of people who know and love the fabulous experience of the home-made stock -- there is nothing like that unctuous, rich, deep flavor.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: alkapal

                              Right - ambrosia - food of the gods - sublime - forces me to close my eyes - so good.

                            2. sylvan, I always make my potato soup with that congealed ham broth from the bone. Oh my goodness, it is so rich and flavorful - nothing like when you just use canned stock or soup base.
                              Whether I am making chicken, turkey or ham stock, I leave it simmering for a good 4 or 5 hours to extract every bit of that gelatinous mess out of the bones!

                              alkapal - 'unctuous' is exactly the word! Love it.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                jmcarthur8, I heard from a Louisana cook that we should never throw "flavor" away. This is certainly a prime example of saving the flavor for another use. I wish I could find more creative ideas like the one you just mentioned.

                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                  hey jmcarthur…you can whip me up some of that stock in one of your fab kitchens. i think that stock might be good to use and make some grits with it….top with a fried egg. then…i don't know if you do this in georgia, chop the egg up into the grits. (northerners, please avert your delicate eyes).

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Did you just mention grits.....fried egg?? I think I will just have my breakfast now instead of waiting until 7 tomorrow morning. Yep, a little bean juice on those grits would be mighty fine too.

                                    1. re: cstout

                                      cstout, i can't argue with that. '-).

                                      a "quickie" supper is this dish my mom used to make: put ham steak in medium-hot cast iron skillet, add water to cover and simmer a bit…then add some grits and enough water for the grits. add a little salt for the girts (considering that the ham broth will be salty). cover and cook till grits are done. salt & pepper to taste. to serve, slice a piece of ham, cover with grits, then add a fried egg or two on top of your serving. simple country fare, but oh so satisfying.

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        alkapal, do you just put the grits around the ham steak or just pour them everywhere & add enough water to make sure they are all covered?

                                        1. re: cstout

                                          my mom would sprinkle them around overall, as i recall. there is some residual juice there, and there is where the grits can go

                                          i have sprinkled all around, because -- really -- you don't want too many grits here. maybe a half cup or so,,,,

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Wish I had me a ham steak right now....thank you....just one more wonderful way to cook up those little white bites of heaven.

                                    2. re: alkapal

                                      Oh boy, alkapal, that does sound good. As far as the eggs...a native Georgian former beau always crumbled up his bacon and added it and his cheese-eggs to the grits. Mighty fine eatin'.
                                      I still like it that way myself.

                                      And thanks for the nice compliment!

                                      Here's a comfort food that your mom's dish reminded me of. Fry some bacon till crispy, take it out, leave the drippings in the pan - all of them!, then dump in a can of hominy, including the liquid. Fry that down until the liquid is pretty much absorbed, plate it with a fried egg on top.
                                      This sounds like a southern dish, but I actually came up with it years ago when I lived in the Midwest. It's one of those breakfasts that requires a nap afterward.

                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                        Now now, I have to tell you about a hominy dish that will put you to sleep too. Take a can of yellow hominy & drain almost all the water. Heat some butter in an iron skillet & saute some oninion & garlic in there. When everything starts to turn toasty, pour in the hominy, add about a half can of stewed tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes & kinda chop up the tomatoes & stir real good & cook until everything is hot. Add more butter if needed. Just watch it carefully because it tends to start sticking. Could save some hominy water in the can to be added as needed, but I always forget to do that & have to add more butter. Oh yes, you want to get those onions a wee bit browned, adds good flavoring. Good meal all by itself, or maybe a side dish of some kind of beans, like Navy or whatever. A cold beer helps keep everything in control. You could add a dash of chili powder to kick it up a bit too. Heck, you could add a small can of chopped hatch green chilis or just make a batch of chili & then dump this stuff in there too. Let me tell you folks, always keep a few cans of hominy in the pantry, you will never go hungry.

                                        1. re: cstout

                                          I think I will try that - unfortunately the bacon/hominy dish is SO anti-Weight Watchers, thus I haven't had it in ages. This could give me my hominy fix. I like the idea of chilies or chili powder in it.

                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                            i am wondering how hominy is in the newest weight watchers program -- just announced.

                                            here's the deal….now as a rule, i just cut carbs (bread, pasta, rice) and then eat fruits and veggies….and then sometimes i go haywire and eat grits or tortillas or chips…..plus eggs plus snausages. but this OK, because usually i am not eating these things on a daily basis.

                                            i love being able to eat fruits and veggies "all on" (zero points); one of my treats however is cottage cheese with trader joe's canned pineapple (the best ever -- even sweeter than fresh (i know, i know) and in plain juice). to me, this is better than cheesecake.

                                            also… frozen bananas (try them,,,,freeze a decent banana -- or several -- in good heavy aluminum foil; it tastes like a guilt-free gelato, more or less…),

                                            ps, to get a cheese hit with ww, just shred your cheese and spread it; it goes sooooo much further and gives you the flavor you crave without all the fat,

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Hominy is 3 points for a cup. That's fine with me! I can't eat a whole cup of it. So cstout's recipe would be a good one for points - and it's a WW Power Food. Though I'd have to watch the butter ;-(

                                              Looks like we need to start a 'Favorites on WW' thread. I'm with you on all your faves. And the banana! I am definitely doing that.