Christmas Ham Soup

Christmas Ham Soup

Earlier this week I made soup from the Christmas ham, and some homemade biscuits to go with it. It took me back 26 or so years ago when I wanted to enter the same recipe in Better Homes & Gardens monthly recipe contest.

Back then I had a house full of little boys running through my tiny kitchen, one in diapers, and there were no such conveniences as e-mail or the internet. I didn’t even own a manual typewriter, so entering the contest meant taking the time to write out the recipe, take photographs . . . and have them developed, and mail in my entry. This just didn’t get done, but as far as my family is concerned, this soup is still a winner.

I cook our ham by pouring coca-cola over it, then covering it with a tightly sealed foil tent. It bakes in a slow 300* oven for several hours, then it gets basted with a brown sugar and maple syrup sauce thinned with apple juice, and seasoned with a touch of ground cloves. It is so tender and delicious. This makes a wonderful dark rich base for the broth when the leftover ham, bones included, simmer in a soup pot for a whole afternoon-(hence the very used look on my wonderful green enamel ware pot).

The broth is then strained and the meat picked off the bone. This goes back in the pot with onions, a couple of cans of navy beans, a can of chopped tomatoes, some chopped celery and sometimes a zucchini. Just before serving it gets topped with a handful of fresh chopped parsley and it is fit for my Kings. We made a pan of homemade buttermilk biscuits this week, baked on my trusty Silpat liner, to round out our feast, and that toddler in diapers, now 27, joined us for the rich memories and eagerly helped himself to seconds.

What easy ways do use your Christmas ham leftovers? Please share your ideas. Happy New Year!

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