Most every holiday buffet includes a beautiful baked ham. While a boneless ham seems easier to carve, the shape and flavor of a bone-in ham is far more appealing. But let’s face it, you’re probably going to end up with some leftovers. After you’ve cleaned the ham from the bone to make sandwiches, you might start to throw it in the trash. Stop! Save that ham bone. There are so many ways to use it for economical, heart healthy meals.
Did you know that bone broth is one of the most nutritious foods? In addition to providing collagen, it is a great source of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Full of amino acids , it heals the gut, promotes healthier joints, and boosts the immune system. Simmer a ham bone with peas, beans or legumes, and you have a nutritional powerhouse that’s insanely easy to prepare. Beans and legumes are low in calories and fat, and a rich source of protein, fiber and B vitamins.
And if you’re a frugal cook, Split Pea Soup is one of the cheapest dishes you can serve.
Before I start making this soup, I carefully scrape the ham bone, removing any visible fat. This reduces the calories and makes the soup easier to digest for those who can’t handle much animal fat. Then, I place the ham bone in a 4 quart saucepan.
Next, I I open a bag of split peas, chop up some onion, throw in a couple cloves of garlic. Now, I fill the pan almost to the brim with water, and add a bay leaf, carrots and celery. The recipe may call for salt, but I don’t add any because the ham is salty enough to suit my taste. After simmering for a couple hours, tender bits of ham can be pulled from the bone joint with a fork and mixed in with the soup. I’ve made this soup so often that I don’t need a recipe, but here’s one if this is your first time making split pea soup.
Split Pea Soup With Ham Bone
1 meaty ham bone
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped.
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, scraped and chopped
1 stalk celery , chopped.
Combine all ingredients in 4 quart stock pot and cover with water up to within an inch of the brim. Simmer, covered, for 1 ½ hours or until soup reaches desired thickness. When cool enough to handle, remove ham bone and remove meat from bone. Discard bone, dice meat. Return meat to soup. Discard bay leaf. Reheat and serve.
1 cup: 202 calories. Makes about 10 servings.
For an extra treat, buy a box of Jiffy cornbread mix and make some muffins to serve with the soup.
Never underestimate the value of a ham bone!