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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

what to do with that hambone in the freezer

so, you had a big ham for easter dinner, and stuck the bone and the scraps in the freezer. you hoped someone would come along and rescue you by trotting out a great bean soup recipe. never fear, bothenook is here!

  • 1 bag of small white or navy beans
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • a couple of shakes of your favorite season salt or season mix. there are more than i can count, but some of the ones i like to use are Mrs. Dash season mix, or any cajun seasoning mix. use sparingly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ham bone and scraps, or a smoked hamhock, available from most supermarkets

take the ham bone, or hamhock, and toss it into water in a big pot. add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. turn down to a simmer, and cook for an hour or so. longer if you forget to look at the clock like i did. a couple of hours didn't hurt this at all. as a matter of fact, it helped cook out the gelatin from the marrow, and gave the soup a velvety consistency that i really liked.

beans: there are two ways to go about these little gems. actually three, if you buy canned beans instead of dried. but you wouldn't do that, now would you? even if you were in a relative hurry, and wanted to get with the program? i thought not. so how do you get the beans ready to make a wonderful soup? first, pick them over and make sure there are no little stones or dirt in them. very important. we don't want to be visiting the dentist for a new crown, now do we? didn't think so. so once they are cleaned, you can go two ways from here.
process one: let beans soak overnight, covered with water. the next day, discard the liquid and rinse the beans.
process two: cover the beans with water, and bring to a boil. turn off the heat, and let them soak for about an hour and a half, and then drain.
both of these work well for bean soup. i used the second method.

stock: allow the liquid you cooked the bone and scraps in to cool a little, then pull out the bone with a pair of tongs. shred the remaining meat off of the bone. chop up any of the scraps to bitty pieces. i usually strain the liquid i cooked the hambone in into a big soup pot. i then add the beans, and get them on the fire, bringing it to a boil. once it's boiling, turn down the heat to a simmer.
while the beans are hanging out in the stock, i prep the carrots, onion, garlic, and celery, and toss into the pot, along with all of the shredded ham.
this is what it looks like at the beginning of the cooking process
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see all of the veggies? well, they cook down pretty well after the soup has been simmering covered for a couple of hours. the whole house smells like heaven while this soup bubbles on the stove.
after about 2 hours of simmering, the soup should be ready. i know i was more than ready to taste it after smelling it cook. here is what the cooked soup will look like
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where i grew up, there were three things required for this to be a meal. the first was cornbread. the second and third were condiments
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catsup, and hot sauce.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ham, and ham hock might be the universal seasoning.

Works with any kind of bean, including green beans. Also great with cabbage, and especially kale, and other greens.

Or it is good all by itself.

Knife and fork not included.

4/27/05, 5:08 AM  
Blogger bothenook said...

the great thing about ham is that after the big feast, you can still do a number of things with the leftovers. those dishes are standalone, and can't be classified as leftovers. i can think of enough different ways to make dishes with ham that i go weeks in a row without getting tired of ham, because the variety of things you can do with it is so great. another great use of leftover ham is ham and potato gratin. mmmmm.

4/27/05, 7:37 AM  

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