Don’t throw that Easter ham bone away! Even if it has just a tiny bit of meat left on it, there’s still plenty there to make a nice soup. I especially like ham cooked with navy beans, but any variety will do. This makes 6-8 servings of soup and each serving has 2½ servings of vegetables. With the grains and the beans you have a complete protein. You can hardly get a more nutritious soup.
Ham Bone Soup
1 ham bone
¾ C navy or other dry beans
2½ C water
Put this in a pressure cooker. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for the cooker, bring to pressure and turn down heat just enough to maintain pressure. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool till you can safely remove the lid.
While the beans and bone are cooking, prepare the broth:
3 C diced squash
½ C chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
½ tsp dried crumbled rosemary
2 C vegetable broth
1-1½ tsp salt
Boil the squash in 1 C water for 6-8 minutes, until tender. Puree water and cooked squash in a blender or with a stick blender.
Sauté the onions and garlic till almost tender. Add pepper and rosemary and sauté for another minute or so to release the flavor and aroma of the herbs and spices. Add squash puree and vegetable broth. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste. Now add all your soup ingredients:
4 C vegetables of your choice, any combination. I like peas, carrots, celery, broccoli, baby lima beans, corn, shredded kale or Swiss chard, green beans, cauliflower, Jerusalem artichoke, turnips, radishes and okra. I’m looking for a pretty variety of color, shape and texture.
1 C cooked grain: bulgar wheat, cous cous, quinoa, rice or small pasta like orzi or risoni
As soon as the ham bone is cool enough to handle, take the meat off the bone. It should fall off the bone and be easy to separate out from the gristle. Cut into smaller pieces if needed. Add meat and cooked beans to the soup mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use one 15 oz can of beans (or 1½ C cooked beans) and just simmer the bone in a stock pot for an hour or until meat falls off the bone.