Don’t toss that ham bone. Follow these easy step by step photo instructions for some great crock pot ham bone vegetable soup.
Editor’s Note: Originally Published April 13, 2013. Updated with improved and expanded text and discussion along with updated photos.
We occasionally have a ham bone, not a real common occurrence when you’re cooking for two, but it does happen. So what to do with a ham bone from that holiday spiral cut ham? You can toss it or make soup.
Inspired by an allrecipes.com recipe called Ham Bone Soup I read all 200 plus comment for helpful hints. There are often useful things in the comments and should be read if you’re doing a recipe.
I’m at a 4 but my wife, the ham person, is a high 4 or low 5.
Pro Tips: Recipe Notes for Crock Pot Ham Bone Vegetable Soup.
The Ham Bone
You need enough meat on the ham bone to have some in the soup. If in doubt, you can add a chopped up ham steak or similar ham.
Many hams have a sugary coat. This sweetness needs to be reduced as much as reasonably possible. Trim or scrap off some and then a really good rinse should usually do. The sugary taste is not needed in the soup and I think it would be “weird.”
A Salt Note
The salt could easily get out of hand here. Ham has a lot of salt. Do not add any, use low sodium broth and rinse the beans.
Broth vs. Water
The model recipe uses water with added chicken bouillon cubes. Many other recipes used chicken broth.
It was pointed out to me by several commenters that the ham bone will make its own borth. I have followed that advice many times in this and other ham bone recipes with 100% success.
So you have three options. First, just water for the liquid. Second, water and add bouillon cubes later in the cooking if needed. Or use the low sodium chicken broth I initially used here. I suggest #1 now.
There is a lot of fat in a ham. If this is a concern (and it should be), refrigerate overnight and scrap the disgusting stuff off. Hopefully, you scraped some off with the sugar coating.
Other Ham Bone Soup Options
This is more than enough ham on this bone. The chicken broth is an option, but just water works well.
Rinse the ham under running water to remove as much of any sugary coating as possible. Also, this is a good time to remove any fat the is easily removed.
Chop two peeled potatoes, two peeled carrots, a medium onion and two stalks of celery. Feel free to vary the veggies.
Rinse one can of beans. I used light kidney but did not have low sodium that would be preferred.
In a large crock pot combine 6 cups water, 15 oz can diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and optional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add the rinsed beans and the veggies. You may use low sodium chicken broth if you prefer.
Add the ham bone and cook for 8 hours on low.
With about one hour left in the cooking, remove the bone and strip of meat.
Return the meat to the slow cooker.
Finish the 8-hour total cooking. You may now serve or refrigerate overnight and scrape off any solidified fat.
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Originally Published April 13, 2013