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.
Chili is totally my type of comfort food.
A big bowl of meat and beans, smothered in a spice-filled tomato sauce, topped with gooey cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a pop of fresh green onions.
There are SO many different variations on chili. I love it.
- Classic Chili con Carne (with meat)
- All Meat
- Turkey Chili
- Cincinnati Chili (with spaghetti!!)
- White Chili w. Chicken (no tomatoes in this one!)
- Chipotle Chili (with extra smokiness)
- Chili Colorado (chunks of meat smothered in a rich chile sauce)
- Chili Verde (pork shoulder in a tomatillo sauce)
- Mole-style Chili (with chocolate!)
and probably a few more that I am forgetting!
You should fully expect to see ALL of these versions on the blog eventually 🙂
This version is a hybrid: Chipotle Turkey Chili.
It has wonderful smoky spiciness from the chipotle powder (which are smoked jalapeños), but still feels light since it has ground turkey instead of beef.
This chili is definitely meat-heavy, and will please even the staunchest meat & potatoes person.
It fills you up, is chock full of nourishing ingredients, and pairs wonderfully with some warm buttermilk cornbread (recipe here).
Put a pot on the stove this football Sunday & enjoy with friends and family!
Chipotle Turkey Chili
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 3 pounds ground turkey (93% lean)
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 large carrot, small diced
- 1 red bell pepper, small diced
- 28 oz can tomato puree
- 2 (15oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (15oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup lager beer
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced thyme
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions, for topping
Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a large dutch oven and warm over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and use a spatula to break it into small pieces while it cooks. Let cook for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and any liquid is evaporated.
Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onions. Sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until softened.
Add the garlic and spices (ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, oregano, and chipotle powder) and 2 tablespoons tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until the spices are dispersed and fragrant.
Add the carrot, bell pepper, tomato puree, beans, beer, stock, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to let the flavors meld.
When the chili is done, spoon into bowls and top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions. Serve with cornbread muffins!
It’s the kind of warm, comforting, nourishing food I crave.
The warm broth, the earthy mushrooms & kale, and tons of delicious whole grains.
This kind of food just makes me feel GOOD.
Warm, happy tummy. Lightness. Nourishment. Gratitude.
Man, it just reminds me how much I appreciate home cooking.
Seriously, nothing pre-made or store bought will ever compare to the smells, tastes, and textures or homemade soups & stews.
I’m obsessed with the way a warm pot on the stove permeates the house with an enticing aroma and brings everyone together in anticipation of a delicious family meal.
The entire process of cooking- the shopping, the prep, the cooking, the serving, and the communal meal- brings me a sense of almost meditative calm. It’s my favorite way to cap off the day & reflect with gratitude on the events that occurred. Truly, nothing is better.
In the great words of Michael Pollan, “In the kitchen, you can reclaim the present.”
Do you agree? How does cooking resonate with you??
Mushroom Kale Barley Stew
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts halved & thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 8 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups barley (or short grain brown rice for a gluten-free option)
- 8 cups (2 quarts) vegetable stock
- 1 (8 oz) bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, like chardonnay
- Freshly grated Romano cheese, for serving (optional)
- Garlic bread or crusty baguette, for serving on the side (optional)
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large dutch oven or soup pot. Warm over medium heat, then add the leeks. Season with fresh cracked salt & pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and add the mushrooms and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to prevent the garlic from burning.
When the garlic is fragrant, add the can of tomatoes, barley, and 6 cups of vegetable stock. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes.
After the stew has been simmering for 30 minutes, uncover, add the kale, 2 more cups of vegetable stock, and 1/2 cup wine. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the kale is tender and the stew has the desired texture (it will absorb more liquid and become thicker as it sits).
Ladle into bowls and top with grated romano cheese. Serve with garlic bread or a crusty baguette for dipping! This stew makes great leftovers- the flavors deepen as it rests.