Twice each year, I offer a ham for a holiday gathering, Easter and again at Christmas. Twice each year, I am left with a mighty ham bone once it has been picked clean.
This ham stock recipe is very much a hands-off project that will give back each time you reach for it over and above a store bought can of broth.
Learning how to make ham stock at home has been a game-changer!
A rich, nutrient-dense bone broth, ham stock is used in southern cooking to flavor and elevate many dishes like collard greens, braised cabbage, red beans and rice, black eyed peas, porridge, braised bratwursts and sausages.
Plus you can use it to cook noodles and pastas in lieu of water.
There is no ham stock substitute that I am aware of that is as good as your own homemade ham bone broth.
And as I mentioned earlier, there’s more ways to use this well seasoned broth than just for making soup. Making stock from scraps that might have been thrown away feels like getting free food, plus the homemade stock is so much more flavorful than anything canned.
Did I mention that your house smells great while the stock is cooking? Call me frugal, but be sure to also call me smart.
How Do You Make Ham Stock from Scratch?
The best part about making ham stock is that there are no fancy ingredients and you don’t need to whip out your slow cooker or pressure cooker. Plus, you can prepare your bone stock up to 3 days ahead, leaving you plenty of time to get the rest of your feast ready!
An easy ham broth recipe requires only a large stockpot, bay leaves, as many cups water is it takes to sufficiently cover the bone, and the trilogy of onion, celery, and carrots.
I also find about a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns to toss in. Bacon fat leftover from breakfast, crushed garlic cloves, and a bouquet garni help to layer the end product. A leek makes it even better if you’ve got one.
Making broth from ham bones and freezing it both in ice cube trays as well as plastic containers makes thawing it for use a cinch. I find using the ham stock cubes which I freeze in ice trays extremely handy.
They add depth to my beef and pork ragu. I also cook pasta salad noodles using half ham stock and half water.
Watch my quick overview video below to see how easy it is to make ham bone broth…
Once your stock is finished simmering, after about 3 hours, allow your soup a 24 hour rest in the refrigerator. This is not a suggestion, rather a quasi requirement if you plan to either use immediately or freeze.
The fat solids need the change to float and collect at the top of the stock. Chilling it allows it to become somewhat firm and easily spooned off.
In the photos I have selected to show, you can clearly see that layer of fat capping the stock. Remove this before using or freezing.
Speaking of freezing…your freshly made ham stock recipe will be good for up to 3 months. Talk about a good use of your time!
The broth itself will not be fluid, rather mildly gelatinous. This is bone broth. In its chilled state, this is the correct consistency. If yours is like then give yourself a high-five because you’ve done it all correctly!
You can use ham stock to flavor dishes like red beans and rice, braised cabbage and collard greens, braised bratwurst, and sausage. Or instead of water, use ham bone broth to cook noodles and pasta.
Yes, you can put ham stock in the freezer and it will be good for to 3 months. So get those freezer-proof containers ready and maximize your efforts in the kitchen!
How To Make Homemade Ham Stock
- 8 quart stockpot
Ingredients for Homemade Ham Stock
Use this Ham Stock Recipe to make Creamy Plantation Potato and Ham Soup
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small leek white and light-green parts only, chopped; may substitute ramps or green onions
- 1 small onion rough chopped
- 2 stalks celery rough chopped
- 2 large carrots rough chopped
- 6 cloves garlic peeled, crushed
- 1 ham bone scraps attached
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
The Method for Making Homemade Ham Stock
- Heat the bacon fat along with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Cook leek, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, stirring frequently, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add ham bone, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns and cover with water about 1" above top of bone.
- Simmer, uncovered, until stock is flavorful and fragrant, about 3 hours. You will have about 1 quart of rich stock at this point, give or take.
- Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard the solids all but for the larger pieces of ham that have fallen from the bone. Depending on your plans for the stock, the ham can be diced and saved for a later soup or other dish at the very end, like a garnish. If you want to be really over the top, fry the ham bits in bacon fat and then garnish with them. Then…drop the mic…