Hams are pretty awesome.
You can often find them on huge discount during the holiday season, and they can be used to make (literally) half a dozen meals!
Some of my favorite ways to use ham include:
- pot pies
The best part is that all of these recipes only require a cup or two of ham, so you can stretch your ham-love super far.
To prep a ham for use in a bunch of dishes,
- First, slice thick slices (1/2 inch-ish, depending on how large you want your dice to be) of ham from the bone until all the meat is removed.
- Save that ham bone for stock or soup!
- Next, cut off any fatty skin, gristle, or tendons from each slice & discard.
- Finally, dice your ham into 1/2 inch cubes (or leave in slices if you want to use for sandwiches)
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or pack in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to a few months until needed.
For my first leftover ham recipe, I chose to make a nourishing winter soup.
It’s inspired by my parent’s habit of making lima bean and ham hock soup with leftover ham when I was a child.
I’ll admit…. I wasn’t the biggest fan of that soup as a child… but with some upgrades and handful of additional ingredients to bump up the flavor, I’ve become a HUGE fan of ham & bean soup.
I love how the creamy butter beans soften while cooking to thicken the soup, how the beautifully vibrant savoy cabbage softens and gives the soup tender body, and how the salty ham kicks up each and every bite to a new level.
Serve with baguette slices for sopping up the delicious broth, freshly grated parmesan cheese for a hit of extra flavor, and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper.
Ham and Butter Bean Soup with Savoy Cabbage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 large dried bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 small savoy cabbage, cored and shredded or thinly sliced (about 4 very large handfuls)
- 2 cups diced ham
- 3 (15oz) cans butter beans
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese, baguette slices, and freshly cracked black pepper, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or other heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper and sauté until softened, and just about to start browning.
- At this point, add the chicken stock, cabbage, ham, and butter beans and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 45 minutes, until some of the beans have broken down slightly to thicken the soup, and the cabbage is cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley and apple cider vinegar.
- Ladle into deep soup bowls, top with parmesan and freshly grated parmesan cheese, and serve with baguette slices.