I don't buy ham very often (other that deli ham), mainly because they're so big and I always seem to have trouble using up all of that meat. But shortly before Christmas, one of the grocery stores I shop at had bone-in half hams for 99 cents a pound. How could I pass that up?! So I got myself a big eight pounder and decided I'd get creative and figure out how to use up all of that ham.
The first round with the ham was pretty simple. On New Year's day, there were going to be eight of us for dinner and I needed a meal that would be easy to put together, since I knew I'd be tired from staying up so late the night before. So I baked the ham and served it up with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. Super easy and really tasty. Over the next couple of days the leftovers got used in an omelet and a few sandwiches.
A few days later was when I got more creative. I took the ham bone along with all of the meat that was still around it and made a delicious ham and navy bean soup. I had only made this once before and I had forgotten, first of all, how easy it really is to make and second of all, how GOOD it is.
This recipe makes a fairly large batch of soup, so I froze the leftover soup in individual portions for lunch. I think I ended up doing a pretty good job of making the most of that big ham!
Ham and Navy Bean Soup
- 1 lb dried navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 10 sprigs of parsley
- several sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ham bone and meat surrounding it
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups cold water
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the beans in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn heat off, cover and let sit for one hour. Drain beans and set aside.
Meanwhile, chop veggies.
Tie herbs together with kitchen twine into a bundle.
Combine the beans, herb bundle, carrots, onion, garlic, ham bone and water in a large pot.
Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Turn heat off and remove ham bone and herb bundle. Skim any visible fat from the top of the soup. Once ham bone has cooled enough to handle, cut meat into chunks and reserve.
While ham is cooling you want to thicken soup by either using an immersion blender to semi- puree some of the soup (making sure there are still whole beans and veggies) or remove about 3 cups of soup and puree in a blender.
Add ham to soup. Add salt and pepper to taste (you shouldn't need a lot of salt because of the saltiness of the ham).
At this point you can either continue to simmer until you are ready to eat or serve immediately.
Shared at Mandy's Recipe Box on 1/10/12.
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Shared at Food Corner on 1/11/12.