Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What to do with leftover ham bones

When Thanksgiving weekend is over and most of the leftovers are gone, there are usually two things left in my refrigerator...a turkey carcass and a ham bone. I used to always make turkey soup and throw away the ham bone. But the last few years I've tossed the turkey, hung onto to ham bone and made split pea soup.

Most ham bones have enough meat left on them to make a great split pea soup. The salty smoky flavor of ham blends perfectly with split peas and is a nice change from the turkey flavors. The beauty of split pea soup is that it's easy and healthy. There are some basic ingredients, but like most soups, you don't have to do much measuring. Just throw in the amount you I think sounds good.


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large potatoes, cut bite-size
1 ham bone with meat attached
3 bay leaves
3 cups water
1 lb split peas (green, or yellow and green mixed)
1 tsp. dried thyme

In a very large pot saute onions carrots, and celery in olive oil until vegetables begin to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add ham bone, bay leaves and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours, or until ham is tender. Remove ham bone and any chunks of ham and cool.

While ham and bone are cooling add split peas and thyme to the pot and cover. Simmer 1/2 hour. Add potatoes and simmer another 1/2 hour, or until peas soften and dissolve. Cut up cooled ham and add it to the pot and cook 15 more minutes. Remove bay leaves. If soup is too thick add more water. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

This soup warms you from the inside-out on these cold December nights. It's hearty and robust. Serve it with a loaf of crusty french bread and a bottle of sauvignon blanc or gewurztraminer.


  1. Oh! I love split pea soup. It's truly food for the soul.

  2. Love the tip on the hambone. I usually throw it awway, too. We throw away too much food. I think suggestions of fixing dinners with our leftovers would be a great blog. You could call it, "Whoops, I did it again."

  3. Love the split pea soup. This is a great meal when it's cold and wet like we've been having recently. Very hardy and very nutritious.

  4. Thanks for the split-pea recipe. I love the split-pea soup at Pea Soup Andersen's even though it's a chain. It's a nice place to stop and get a warm bowl of the stuff when you are traveling. I'll try your recipe and solution for the hambone crowding my refrigerator.

  5. Laura from LovelockDecember 16, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    You have some funny friends. Harvey J. Hambone is one. But seriously, I've learned a lot from your blog. Thanks for writing it.

  6. Speaking of cold weather, do you remember this blog post that you did not too long ago?:

  7. Dear Laura from Lovelock,
    Thank you for the comment. I do have some mighty funny commenters. They would be fun to have at a party.

  8. Yes, Anonymous. It seems like it was only yesterday that it was 110 degrees here in the central valley. It will will come back around pretty quickly too.