Hambone Soup and 13 Other Hambone Recipes


It's hard to eat a whole ham — leftovers are almost guaranteed. Even after feeding a crowd, you'll find yourself with a picked-over bone that you may be ready to toss in the trash. Don't do it!

There are tons of inexpensive and utterly delicious dishes you can whip together with leftover ham and hambones. (See also: 10 Delicious Ways to Use Leftover Mashed Potatoes)

(You can even skip buying the whole ham itself and instead ask your butcher if there are any bones available to buy. The HoneyBaked Ham store in Los Angeles sells hambones for a thrifty $3 per pound, and they have a little extra meat to spare.)

1. Crock-Pot Ham Stock

After pulling off the leftover meat (save that for later!), I put leftover ham bones in my Crock-Pot, cover them with a gallon of water, and cook them overnight. The next morning, I have four quarts of bubbling stock. This makes a wonderful base for soups and more.

2. Gumbo

I use the ham stock made in my Crock-Pot to make a version of Leah Chase's Gumbo Z'Herbes. Although gumbo is an expensive dish due to all the meat, a cup of gumbo over steamed rice makes a hearty meal. I had six servings leftover, which freeze well for quickie meals during colder months.

3. Black-Eyed Peas With Ham Hock and Collards

Also made in a slow cooker, this black-eyed peas and collards is a Southern New Year's Day classic, and also the perfect dish to use up leftover Christmas ham.

4. Sandwiches

Don't underestimate the almighty sandwich. Go Italian with a tasty muffaletta for Sunday dinner, or enjoy some Cuban flair with medianoches instead. Also utterly delicious between two fresh slices of bread? Homemade deviled ham.

5. Ham Cakes

Ham cake-ettes are a great way to use up the inevitable post-holiday leftover ham and mashed potatoes. Cover the cakes with panko, and these are the turf version of crab cakes.

6. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Ham

Even picky eaters will love roasted Brussels sprouts with ham and garlic. The sprouts caramelize when they roast, which gives them beautiful texture.

7. Hoppin' John

The Lowcountry classic Hoppin' John is perfect for breakfast, and is similar to beans and rice. The ingredients are super cheap — you probably already have most of them sitting in your pantry right now.

8. Grits or Polenta

One of my favorite sides to bring to any potluck is a cheesy grits casserole. Top the dish with some crispy cubes of cooked ham and a sprinkle of green onion, and you're guaranteed to return home with an empty pan. One of the great things about this dish is that it can be frozen for later. It reheats nicely under the broiler or in the microwave, perfect for breakfasts down the road.

For people who are just too fancy for grits, polenta (the grits of Italy) makes excellent hammy spoon bread or ham and cheddar gratin.

9. Ham and Cheese Pretzel Calzones

The next time you're entertaining, blow your friends away with these ham and cheese pretzel calzones. (Instead of cheddar cheese, I substitute brie and it is delicious.)

10. Choucroute Garnie

A classic Alsatian dish, choucroute garnie is a rustic mix of sauerkraut with sausages and other salted meats (like ham!). I omitted wine from my recipe and still enjoyed it.

11. Arroz Frito Cubano

I used my last bit of leftover ham and my last two cups of stock to make arroz frito cubano, a Chino-Cubano dish. I cooked the steamed rice in ham stock instead of water, and used up all the leftover ingredients from the week's dishes to make a thrifty meal.

12. Ham Omelet

I made a super fun green eggs and ham Denver omelet by combining Martha Stewart's recipe for pesto eggs with the classic omelet recipe from the Denver Post. Kids will love this one, too.

13. Pasta

Yes, ham also goes great with pasta. Make a filling and comforting pasta with creamy ham sauce, or use it to stuff spinach and ham ravioli.

14. Flavorful Additions

Another great way to use up leftover ham is by simply adding it to any dish you like for a flavorful kick. It makes a perfect topping for homemade pizzas, filling for quesadillas, or stuffing for savory pies. Get creative!

What are your favorite ways to use leftover ham?

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