Friday, April 25, 2014

How to make ham stock from the leftover Easter ham bone

There aren’t a lot of things you can do with ham bones. Cooking them down and making a nice ham stock for different kinds of soup is the best way to get more bang for your food dollar. And, it’s easier than you think.

When I make my Easter ham (or hams) I save the bones with some meat on them. I put them in a plastic shopping bag and put them in the freezer. They’ll keep that way pretty well for a few weeks. When you are ready to make your ham stock pull them out and just follow these easy directions.
Use the bone from your Easter ham to make ham stock!
Put the ham bone (or bones) in a large stock pot, preferably one at least 8-quarts. Peel a couple of onions and throw them in whole. Peel a couple of garlic cloves and throw those in whole. Peel a few carrots and throw the peelings in – save the carrots for later.

Cover the whole thing with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low, just so the pot of goodies is at a good slow simmer. Cover and leave it alone for about 30 to 45 minutes. 
Check to see if any more water needs to be added, you don’t want it to cook down too much. You’ll want to make sure you bring the stock back up to a boil over high heat each time you add water. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, just so it simmers.

Keep doing this for about 2 hours, or until the ham that was left on the bone is falling off or easy to just pull off. Remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool to room temperature, enough so you can handle getting the bone out of the stock pot.

Place a colander in a very large bowl or in another stock pot. SLOWLY and CAREFULLY pour out the stock into the colander. The onion and peelings will be left in the colander. You can mash up the onions and add them to the stock, but discard the carrot peelings.

I allow this to cool, covered, in the fridge overnight and then skim any fat off the top the next day. I package up the ham stock in quart bags, about 2 cups per bag. Label it, date it and put it in the freezer OR go ahead and make split pea or lentil or potato and ham soup. Yes, recipes to follow

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