Monday, December 26, 2011

Ham Stock: A Good Foundation

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Ham stock in the works
Ham stock in the works

I am not sure what we like more, the ham on Christmas, or making stock from the leftovers and using that in dishes over the next few months.  I often make chicken stock from our roast chicken dinners, but we do not have bone-in ham very often.  Making this stock is something I spend some time on because I want it to be the very best I can get from the bone.  I want those containers of it that I will freeze to provide me with inspiration down the road for some amazing dishes.

I believe good stock is just a matter of low heat and a long cooking time.  I know you can make stock in under an hour if you wish to but mine takes most of a day to do right.  The good news is -- all that time is about having the patience to do nothing but let it simmer on the stove.  No matter how good it smells.  I will post one of my favorite ham stock dishes later this week because I am sure I won't be able to wait very long once this incredible foundation is finished to use it.

Ham Stock
A rich ham stock made from bone-in ham to use in any soup or stew.
  • 2 lbs ham drippings, scraps and bone
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns

  1. In a large soup pot add all of the ingredients and place over a low flame. Put a lid on the pot and let it cook on the lowest temperature for 6 or more hours.
  2. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine meshed sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth. I rarely have cheesecloth on hand and have found that a single layer of paper towel works just fine for this and when I am all done, the entire bit can go right into the compost bin. Easy cleanup.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10 cups