I've never made soup with a ham bone before. But I had some ham and a bone leftover from Easter so I decided to give it a shot. And this could possibly be the best soup I've ever made. I'm serious. If you have a ham bone leftover from Easter, this is an awesome way to use it! This soup was inspired by several different recipes, with my own twist so I'll try to keep the explanation simple. I encourage you to get creative with it too!
The Ham and Potato Soup recipe I used for my main inspiration is from All Recipes. Anything I've made from Chef John has been amazing. This recipe is what I used as the base for the soup. I followed the directions on this recipe with a few changes. I doubled the onion, carrot, and celery and used an extra tablespoon of butter and flour for the roux. I also omitted the heavy cream because I didn't have any. But I didn't miss it. Instead of the 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water that the recipe calls for, I used 6 cups of the bone broth (recipe below) and 1 cup of water. And instead of diced ham, I used the ham from the bone.
For the bone broth, I used my crock pot and slow cooked the ham bone on high for about 5 hours. I used 6 cups of chicken broth along with a diced white onion, several cloves of sliced garlic, and about a tablespoon of dried Thyme. Helpful tip: When using any dried herb in a recipe, I like to rub it between my fingers as I'm adding it in to help release or revive the flavors from the herb. I think Thyme was a good choice of herbs because it really brightened up the rich, salty flavor of the broth without overpowering the natural flavors from the ham bone. And that's it for the broth.
The center portion of the ham that hadn't been spiraled was still attached to the ham bone and was falling apart after slow cooking all day. That is the ham I used in the soup recipe instead of cubed ham. I separated the broth from the ham bone and meat with a strainer and added the broth to the roux (vegetable flour mixture) 1 cup at a time as the recipe called for, followed by the potatoes. While that was all cooking, I shredded the ham and removed any bone or pieces of fat from the meat. And I added the ham to the soup right at the end right before serving since it was already falling apart and I didn't want to overcook it with the potatoes. If you only have the bone and need to use cubed ham, you should add the ham at the beginning as the recipe originally calls for.
When serving, top with some fresh chives or green onion and a little shredded cheese if you'd like and dig in! I was amazed at how the bone broth gave this soup a tremendous amount of flavor with relatively no added seasoning. I will never throw away another ham bone again.
Click here for Chef John's Ham and Potato Soup recipe to get started!
(Disclaimer: I am not a professional food photographer. I know--shocking right?)