The remains of our Christmas party ham (really just the bone with a few scraggly bits hanging on for dear life) is taking up altogether too much real estate in our freezer. Outside I have another problem altogether – the warm weather has thawed the 4 L of turkey stock I had out on the patio. So, the obvious solution when paired with too much stock and a ham bone: make soup.
This is also a good idea because the house has become quarantined; Willem has had a nasty cough for days that landed his 2 year old cousin, Hugo, in the hospital, and we spent last night nursing W’s high fever. So today we’re cold and tired, and a big bowl of soup with ham and potatoes and spinach, topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, was a very good thing.
I made two kinds: Ham and White Bean with Vegetables and Spinach, and Ham and Pea. (It’s amazing how far a carcass will go.)
All I did was throw the ham bone in a bit pot and covered it with water, threw in a few green onions that were about to go slimy, and some black peppercorns (just because it makes the whole thing look British chef-y). Simmered the whole lot, then pulled out the bone and cut off any meat that was still on it and poured the rest through a colander into another pot. Voila, ham stock.
To half of it I added the remains (probably 2 cups) of a bag of frozen peas, simmered it, then pureed it with a hand blender. These are the best – you stick them right into the pot – no need to transfer hot liquids to a blender and back. For the more involved soup, I got Mike to chop an onion and a couple carrots and celery stalks, sauteed them with a few smashed cloves of garlic, then added the stock, a little chicken stock too, a few small, unpeeled, diced potatoes, a can of drained navy beans (any white bean will do) and the ham. I let it be until the potatoes were tender. If you have spinach, throw a couple handfuls into the pot, cover it for a few minutes to let it wilt, and serve the soup hot, with crusty bread and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, on the couch while you watch the news.