Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ham Stock

My mom made a 20 lb ham for Easter. I got a big portion of it, along with the bones.  I decided to make ham stock.  I'm fairly new to making stock.  I'm more of a "throw the bones in with the soup and pull them out at the end" type of cook most of the time.  However, now that I'm older and lazier, I've started to see the advantages of having ready-made stock available in my freezer.  It tastes better, is cheap and convenient, and lets me use up those bones/carcasses so they are not cluttering up my fridge or freezer. I'm a little bit weird that way.
I've never heard of ham stock before, but figured there must be recipes out there on the internet. Sure enough, there were.* It's pretty much like making any other kind of stock.  Stew up the bones/meat scraps along with some veggies for flavoring.  Simmer it slowly for several hours.  Pull out the chunkies, let it cool slowly and skim off the fat.  Filter the mixture if you're anal and use it or freeze it for later.
It gave me about 9 cups of broth.  I didn't bother filtering it.  It tasted of ham and celery.  I just added a bunch of chopped ham, two cloves of garlic, and about 2 1/2 cups of dried split peas, and cooked it until the peas were tender.  it didn't have the depth of flavor that my last batch of split pea soup did, but it did have a nice clean taste.  It was also a lot thinner - the potato that I added last time really thickened things up.

* My internet search led me to a blog called "101 things every cook should cook"  In it there are a lot of interesting recipes, such as toad in the hole and roast squirrel. There were also several recipes for ham stock and soups made from it.

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