Over the holidays, I had a few family members over for a simple meal of ham and rolls. Because the holidays are a busy time, I didn’t fuss with the leftovers – I simply wrapped up the ham bone and leftover ham pieces, and placed them in the freezer.
Fast forward a few weeks, and russet potatoes are $1.79 for a ten pound bag at Aldi. No question about it, that’s the best price I’m going to find until the season for farm markets returns. Of course I bought a bag… time to make soup!
[Psst… reblog, retweet, or share on Facebook to enter this month’s Freebie!]
1 ham bone (from an 8 – 10 pound half ham)
Any vegetable scraps you have on hand (clean onion peels, carrot peels, celery ends)
10 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
Ham scraps, cut into bite size pieces (about 1 pound)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional garnish)
Step 1) Place ham bone and vegetable scraps (optional) in a large crock pot and fill with water. Cover and simmer on low for two days. We need to coax every molecule of flavor out of that ham bone! Be sure to keep crock pot filled with water… add more water if evaporation occurs and the water level falls below the top inch of the crock pot.
Step 2) After 2 days, turn off crock pot and allow to cool slightly. Ladle liquid in the crock pot through a sieve and into a 3-gallon stockpot (or divide between your two largest pots). Be sure to capture all of the liquid before discarding the ham bone!
Step 3) Add all ten pounds of peeled, quartered potatoes and both peeled, quartered onions to the stockpot with the ham broth. Add water as needed so that the liquid level in the pot is 2 inches above the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are very soft. This will take about an hour, longer if the potatoes were cold.
Step 4) Allow soup to cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper – be careful with the salt, as there is plenty of salt in ham broth already! Stir in ham. To serve, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. To freeze, ladle soup into labeled, quart size freezer containers.