Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ham It Up Baby

Those of you tuning in expecting a cute story about my little baby,
who indeed, is quite a ham;
I'm sorry to dissapoint.  For I am talking about actual ham!
I have come to answer the age old question,
what do you do with leftover ham?
Well I thought I would share some of that good 'ole home cooking with you, 
straight from the hearts of my grandma and mom. 
Whenever I make a ham, I usually use some leftovers in my scrambled eggs, and almost always make Ham Broccoli and Rice casserole, but everytime (and this is in fact required in my family) I make ham and bean soup.  My whole family loves this soup, which is why we all make it I suppose.  Although each of us make it a little different to our tastes. My mom throws every type of bean known to man in there (garbanzo, kidney, northern, green, coffee beans*).  Whereas I'm not as big of a fan of beans so I use less.  This is how I made it earlier this week, and like I said before I don't really measure so I'm estimating what I used.

-Reserve juices from ham when it was cooked
-1 ham bone with ham on it
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 cups water
-3 carrots
-3  sm potatoes
-2 celery stalks
-1 onion
-2 cloves garlic
-2 bay leaves
-fresh parsley
-1 can great nothern beans
-2 cups green beans (I used frozen)

This makes a huge vat of it, it filled my 6 Qt crockpot to full, so you can easily cut in half if you don't want quite that much.  Basically what I did, was put everything in my crockpot and cooked it on high for 4 hrs. Then I took out the ham and cut it off the bone into little pieces and put it back in for another 15 mins or so just to get warm again. Super easy. IMHO the key for this soup being yummy is the reserve juices. Simply pour in a container and put in the fridge after you cook the ham. Don't worry about the fat, it will harden and you can take it out easily before you make the soup. You can easily play with the spices (be wary of adding salt though because with the juices and chicken broth it is already quite flavorful).
Good luck! 
Thanks to my mom and grandma for passing this on to me!

*Sarcasm detector: Please don't actually put coffee beans in your soup.  ;)

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