Leftover Ham Bone Soup
Holiday foods are always a wonderful tradition for my family — which is why I love the end of the year so much.
For Christmas breakfast, my family makes a honey and brown-sugar ham. We’re not a fan of having ham (in any form) for holiday dinners. Instead, on Christmas morning we pan-fry the ham in butter and serve it alongside my uncle’s homemade Babka, with coffee and pastries.
What I learned from my grandmother over the years, is that you can still use the ham bone, even after you’ve cut off the layers of meat.
My grandmother would freeze the ham bone, draped in fat and dense layers of ham, to put in bean soup. After the soup was finished, she would remove the bone, strain out some of the base ingredients, and pull apart the remaining chunks of ham.
While I don’t make soup as well as she did — this year, I decided to use the ham bone to make an easy, leftover ham bone soup to have during the week.
Ham Bone Soup Ingredients
For most of my recipes, I like to use everyday ingredients that you’ll (presumably) always have on hand.
The soup starts with onion, celery, and carrots. I cheated with this soup and used pre-sliced, frozen onions.
While I have made my own chicken stock before, I used a 3-pound can of soup stock I already had. I added two cups of water, to compensate for any liquids that would steam off while cooking.
The star of the soup is the leftover ham bone. Feel free to add any chunks of meat that have layers of fat or thicker skin, as this will break down and flavor the soup.
What I find easiest about soups, is that you don’t have to be perfect. If you cook it long enough, most of the vegetables will dissolve into the stock. So it’s okay not to have 100% symmetrical pieces.
An important step with the soup that takes the most amount of time is shredding the ham from the bone. For the most part, the ham will already tear from the bone as you try to remove it from the soup. What matters for this step, is to make sure you remove the little bones and cartilage pieces when you are separating the meat.
If you have small children and you’re worried about them eating a piece of bone, you can strain your soup and add back the ingredients (to ensure there aren’t any bone fragments). My soup was fine and did not have any tough pieces or bones.
Overall, I thought this was the best soup I’ve made. The depth of flavor was impressive — I must’ve had a good ham bone.
The ham cooked long enough that it was tender and shredded like brisket. The vegetables were soft and barely noticeable as a texture.
What you might’ve missed in the video was adding the potatoes to the soup. They easily overcook and turn to mush, so I added them in while I shredded the meat. By the time I added the meat back into the pot, the potatoes were done and it was ready to serve.
Here it is! K. Martinelli’s Leftover Ham Bone Soup
Thank you for Watching!
Do you have a traditional holiday soup? Or family traditions around the holidays? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below with your thoughts!