I decided to make a ham stock using our Easter Day ham – what else am I going to do with a huge ham bone? Although bean soups are usually the best and easiest use of ham stock, I may use it to steam some greens, make jambalaya, or a bean-free soup. Regardless of what I end up making with it, here’s how to make your own ham stock.
some ham bones (1-2 lbs)
2 stalks of celery
1 medium sized onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
Break up the carrots and celery (I usually just tear them apart with my hands). Add all of the ingredients together in a stockpot or dutch oven and fill it with enough water to cover the bone. Simmer on low (letting it bubble only a little bit) for about six hours. You can cook it longer if you’d like – you will end up with less liquid but with a more potent stock. It’s always a good idea to add a little water if the liquid cooks down too much; in that sense you could keep the bones bubbling for much longer than six hours (to help release more minerals and collagen).
Strain the ingredients with a colander and cheese cloth, and press down on the pieces to get more juice out. Pour everything into a jar and let it cool for an hour, and then refrigerate overnight. The next morning, skim the fat off the top and freeze it if you’re not going to use it within a week or so.