Saturday, November 30, 2013

How to Make Homemade Ham Stock

Homemade stock made from a ham bone or ham hocks.

How to Make Homemade Ham Stock

For most Southern households, major holidays mean ham and most often ham means a leftover ham bone. If you don't have an immediate use for that ham bone, save it and freeze it, or use it to make a stock that you can freeze for later.

It's very simple to do and it provides an amazing boost of flavor for many of your favorite bean dishes and all kinds of soups. One of my favorite recipes to use a good ham stock with is Bean with Bacon Soup. It really puts that soup over the top.

Here's how I make it.

It all starts with a ham bone, of course, although you may also substitute a few meaty ham hocks in place of the ham bone. Once you've trimmed the bone of all the ham for sandwiches and chunks for other dishes, place it in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover the bone, plus about another 2 inches. It will depend on the size of the bone and the pot, but somewhere between 8 to 10 cups of water will usually do it.

Add to the pot, 2 whole ribs of rinsed celery that has been cut into large chunks and include the leaves. Add 2 large rinsed carrots, cut into large chunks, 1 large onion, quartered, 4 sprigs of fresh parsley or a heaping tablespoon of dried, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of whole peppercorns.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, longer if you have the time, until liquid has reduced.

Strain, reserving the bone and stock; discard vegetables. Once cooled, pick off any meat from the bone, reserving the meat and discarding the bone, unless you are using the stock right away, then include it in the pot of soup or beans. Stock may also be cooled and frozen to use later.

Recipe: Homemade Ham Stock

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 large meaty hambone
  • Water to cover, plus two inches
  • 2 whole celery stalks (ribs) with leaves, rinsed and cut into large chunks
  • 2 large carrots, unpeeled, rinsed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 4 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of whole peppercorns

Place ham bone in a large stockpot, along with the remaining stock ingredients, cover with water plus another 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for at least 1 hour. Strain, reserving the bone and stock; discard vegetables. Once cooled, pick off any meat from the bone, reserving the meat and discarding the bone. Use stock as needed for soups, stews and beans, or freeze stock and meat separately, to use later.

Cook's Notes: May substitute dried parsley for fresh and also use 2 to 3 large meaty ham hocks. If using the stock right away for a pot of beans or soup, I strain out the stock, discarding the veggies and returning the bone or hocks along with the stock to the pot.


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©Deep South Dish
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  1. Ham Stock makes all the difference in a pot of beans!

  2. I made this ham stock last night then used it to make your US Senate Ham and Bean Soup and it was fabulous. Thanks Mary!

  3. My stock turned into a jelly overnight in the refrigerator. Did I do something wrong? I did simmer it for a long time, 4 hrs or so.

    1. Nope, nothing wrong at all! That's exactly what it's like when you refrigerate it. Once you warm it for whatever you're using it for, it will liquify again. That's gonna be some good tasting stock!!

  4. What do you do with the veggies you discard?

    1. Hi Amy! The veggies have given up all of their flavor to the stock, so you just throw them out.

  5. Oh this is just wonderful! Have been waiting for a holiday ham bone to try it out. Made only 1 change: returned the bones and non-meat trimmings back to the pot and just barely simmered 2 more hours, adding a bit more water twice. Wanted all the health benefits from the dense bone broth since we've all be sick.

    And this stock is heavenly. I could drink this for lunch by itself! Yield was 4.7 qts before taking off the chilled fat. The fat is so flavorful I've frozen it to use frying up onions and peppers.

    Of course, it was a Smithfield ham!

  6. I've made soup stock for years, so I started with your basic recipe and the bones, fat, skin and trimmings from a 20 pound whole peppered ham. I also have the good fortune of owning a 20 quart stock pot. In addition to the ham pieces-parts, I added one head of red cabbage, quartered, 3 red onions, skin and all, halved, 1 large bulb of garlic, skin and all, crushing each clove with a cleaver, one whole stalk of celery, cut into chunks, one pound or so of unpeeled "colorful" carrots (red, purple, orange & yellow) split lengthwise and cut into chunks, a store-bought "bunch" of flat Italian parsley, 6 shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and halved and a medium-sized cluster of oyster mushrooms, cleaned, 3 tomatoes, cut into quarters and a few "colorful" potatoes (purple, red, yellow), cut into chunks. Started by adding 2 gallons of water, brought the pot to a boil and reduced it to a low simmer. I check the pot periodically; and add water as needed. I simmer my stock it cooks for 20-24 hours. At that point I strain the veggies, bones and other items out of the stock using a large colander. After that, I pass the stock through several layers of #90 cheesecloth (tightly woven material...but not quite muslin)...need to change-out the cheesecloth several times. I bring the strained stock to a full rolling boil for 5 minutes, let it cool...and refrigerate the stock for at least 24 hours. The stock will gel; but it's still possible to skim off quite a bit of the fat. I then gently warm the stock just enough to "liquify" it to get it into containers for freezing. While the fat IS flavorful, my wife and I are "vintage", so monitoring fat and sodium intake is necessary; but there really isn't a noticeable drop-off in the intensity of the flavor...and the added veggies add a bunch of good nutrients! A bit of work; but one ham will provide stock for multiple pots of delicious "many varieties of beans" bean soup!

    1. Fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    2. Hi! Al Ceranko...the stock-maker! This is my "base" recipe for almost every stock that I make...from roast chicken & turkey skin, bones & "scraps" fresh chicken leg my "Special Sauce" for my adding to our dogs' meals, which starts with chicken livers, chicken leg quarters or thighs, a beef shank or two...and then, after the stock is made, I salvage the meats...add sautéed in butter onions and mushrooms...add gravy...serve over "mashers" (mashed potatoes) or pasta...and "voila", we have "our" dinner!

      While I LOVE using "pan drippings" from roast fowl...pan drippings from smoked hams are way too salty for our tastes, so as much as I HATE to do it...they get "trashed"...

      After straining the stock once or twice...depending on how "clear" you wish it to be, it can be reduced by as much as one-half of it's volume...makes freezing it easier...and it's pretty easy to add water later on.

      I do NOT really believe in measuring anything! I cook by "sense of smell"...and "the cook's feel"! Add or delete ingredients that you want to add...or want to omit...stock/broth should be FLAVORFUL...and to you and your family's liking!!! Italian parsley, bay leaves, thyme and black pepper work well with smoked ham/fresh pork...if you add cabbage...add more black pepper!!! Tarragon and rosemary are nice additions for fowl...and beef/venison seems to benefit from extra fresh tomatoes, basil and well as a bit of smoked paprika and cumin.

      I use stock for EVERYTHING...I dilute it for "broth"...use it as a base for my assorted chilis, gumbos, jambalayas, "sausage pots"...just about anything that requires "liquid"! I absolutely cook with wine...and assorted vinegars...and mustard...gotta have mustard for glazes for just about anything and everything!!!

      It has been my experience that adding "a little" of a whole bunch of stuff really does make for a good stock...that can be "reduced" or "diluted" as needed!

      Cook what you love...and LOVE all that you cook!



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