A Big Ham Bone is Surely Sweet

My tia Connie made a homemade ham bone & split pea soup last winter. I didn’t think I liked split pea soup. I was wrong. Ever since then, I have been wanting to try making a hambone-based soup.  Last week biking by The Swinery in West Seattle, it occured to me to stop and pick up something ‘ham’. That something turned out to be a ham hock.

Ham hocks are weird.  And kinda gross.  You definitely realize you are using some part of an animal.  As obvious as that sounds, I think in our modern day supermarket culture it is not a common experience.

I also wanted to use some of my homegrown soup beans.  I have already tried my Tiger’s Eye beans, so I decided to use the Yin-Yang, or Orca, bean, which is a kind of calypso bean.

Here is what I did:

  • Soaked 1 pound of beans in 4c boiled water for 2h.
  • Meanwhile, in a stock pot I simmered the ham hock in 4c water with a bay leaf.
  • After 2h I removed the ham hock, saved the meat, and gave the bones, rind, etc to the chickens.
  • I drained the beans and added them to the stock.
  • While the beans simmered (1h), I sauteed one diced onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs then added them to the soup with two minced cloves of garlic.  I added a diced Red Sangre potato, and the shredded pork, and cooked them in the soup an additional 20 min.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Wow!  We decided this meal is a real winner.  The photo didn’t turn out (I only took one was cause I was anxious to eat it!), so you’ll have to take my word for it. The flavours were very simple, but very tasty. You could do a lot with this dish (herbs such as thyme, cream near end and a splash of balsamic, more veggies…)

Of course, a loaf of homemade no-knead bread perfectly complemented the soup.  This loaf is very similar to the one described here, but the flour was 1:1:11 rye flour, whole wheat, and AP, aged 1 week in the fridge, and sooo tasty.

BTW: The title of this post is a line from a poem.  I will be very impressed if anyone but my sister tells me they know it!

This entry was posted in beans, cooking, food, winter. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Big Ham Bone is Surely Sweet

  1. Chip Bouzard says:


    I’ve been following your blog for a while now. I copied the bread recipe to my computer recipe files, but (saddly) haven’t had time to try it yet. Hope you are well.

  2. jkmcintyre says:

    Hi Chip,
    I recommend trying the rye plus whole wheat here (5 1/2 AP + 1/2c rye + 1/2 c ww) over the whole wheat recipe in the detailed post on bread. The rye adds a distinct yumminess. I would also like to note that slightly more or less water can make a real difference in your ability to handle the dough when you are ready to cut off a ‘boule’. You can always sprinkle more flour on the dough to make it less sticky or use wet hands if too dense. Please let me know how your experiment turns out when you find the time to attempt it! I do also highly recommend the book if only for the detailed description and troubleshooting. I have not had any problems, but it was comforting to read about how various factors would affect the dough.
    Thanks for reading!!

  3. Todo says:

    “But he went down, down, down to the devil…”

  4. nancy says:

    Guess you may not remember that I used to make pea soup with a ham bone – didn’t buy a separate bone, but used left-over bone when a large ham was finished cooking. Split pea soup ‘made from scratch’ is nothing like the real home-made stuff, that’s for sure. You kids did like it when you were little, until you decided that anything-pea was yucky and refused to eat it. I haven’t made it in a long time, but your recipe sounds very like the one I used (except for the potatoes, garlic, and pulled pork, non of which I had in my recipe). We have gotten hung up on the squash soup, but I may try this again!

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