NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
I decided to make a pork 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.
ham bone (1-2 lbs)
2 carrots, leaves included
2 stalks of celery, leaves included
1 medium sized onion, skin intact, cut in half
6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
handful fresh parsley (mostly stems)
Note that onion skins help to add color to the broth. Yellow and white onions produce a golden stock, and red onions produce a dark brown stock.
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. If you have one, you can use a fat separator to remove the fat from the broth. Pour everything into a jar and let it cool for an hour, and then refrigerate overnight. The next morning, if you didn’t use a fat separator, skim the fat off the top. Freeze it if you’re not going to use it within a week.