We bought a ham on sale after Christmas, and finally got around to cooking it this week. After several days, I decided to freeze the remaining meat and go directly to soup.
Good decision! The soup was far tastier than the ham.
I started mid-morning by chopping an onion, along with garlic and celery, then dropped them into a cast iron dutch oven to cook in some olive oil for a few minutes while I rinsed a bit more than a cup of uncooked white beans. I added the ham bone to the pot, dropped in the beans, added enough water to almost cover everything. Dropped in a few bay leaves. I figured the ham had plenty of its own salt. Then I covered and simmered the concoction for probably 5-6 hours.
Meda came up with a key ingredient, the scrapings from the pan the ham had cooked in, which had been saved. After scraping off the fat, I added the scrapings to the soup. It turned out to be real magic.
In the late afternoon, I added a bunch of kale and some collard greens, torn into bite-size pieces, and let those cook down a bit. Then added carrots, cut into large pieces, and several baby red potatoes, which went in whole. The pot went back on the stove until the vegetables were cooked.
Meda put together a little pickie plate with black and green olives, and canned asparagus. We heated some whole grain bread, added a bottle of red wine, and served. It was fantastic.
As I said earlier, far better than the ham.