Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Save that Ham Bone!

Last weekend, a chef friend asked me if I would use a leftover leg bone from a roasted pig. Um, yes! This may look like garbage or dog food to some, but I assure you it's pure gold. With a world of southern recipes I have yet to make swimming around in my head and a bone with lots of meat left on it, I'd have been crazy to say no.

The first thing I did was make ham stock. It's not nearly as versatile as chicken or veggie because it is so much fattier, but is a great base for lots of southern recipes. Collard greens, here I come!

I had to gingerly rotate the bone because even the largest stock pot in the house wasn't big enough for it.
Gently boiling for a couple hours will eventually pull all the meat off the bone. Pork stock takes a lot of skimming with the high fat content. (And on a sidenote, I apologize that the meat does not look more appetizing with my bottom line camera skills. Lots of props to photographers who can make meat look good in pictures!)

When I couldn't handle the stinky ham smell anymore, I pulled the pot and strained. Then I picked through the meat, pulling off all the fat, which are good for flavor, but not good to chew on.

This stock is perfect for cooking down collard greens, mixed with some of the ham hock. I had so much extra, I also made bean soup with nettles and garlic. The perfect southern gravy I want to make will have to wait till next time.

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