We always serve the traditional baked ham for Easter. It smells good, it tastes good, and it reminds us of all the family holidays from our past. But then there is the problem of what to do with the bone and all the scraps? The first thing I recommend to do with your leftover Easter ham is make stock.
How to Make Basic Ham Stock
First, you’ll want to trim any big chunks of meat off the bone and reserve those scraps for the following recipes. Next, add the ham bone to your largest pot and cover with water. (A crock pot would be ideal, but I’ve yet to find one big enough for my massive ham bones.) Add parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and cover with water about 1″ above the top of the bone. Slowly simmer, uncovered, for about 3-4 hours.
When you’re done simmering, strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve and into a large bowl. And that’s it—easy as pie. Now you have stock from which to make your favorite smoky delicious split pea soup, white bean soup, and/or to simmer with your collards. You can keep the stock in the fridge for a few days or freeze for a few months.
After you make your ham stock, try out these ideas on how to use your Easter leftovers to feed your family.
1. Split Pea Soup With Ham
Split pea is a very simple soup. It freezes well and is very welcome after a few weeks of chicken dinners. Just add the “Holy Trinity of Soup” (celery, carrots and onions) to your basic ham stock. Next you’ll need to add the leftover diced ham and spices, stir occasionally, and then simmer until it’s a delicious soup.
2. White Bean and Ham Bone Soup
This soup is rich, filling, comforting and can feed a large family on a small budget. You can simplify this recipe by using canned beans, but it’s much cheaper, has far less sodium, and has a better texture when you use the dry beans. It’s a great way to use up your leftover Easter ham.
3. Southern Style Collards
These collard greens may take a few hours to simmer, but they only require a few minutes of hands-on cooking time. And they can be made ahead and reheat beautifully—in fact, they taste even better on the second or third day.
4. Spinach Dip With Ham
This spinach dip recipe is great for regular snacking, and you can also make it for parties or as an appetizer for a nice dinner. It’ll use up your leftover Easter ham so you don’t need to throw anything away. Pair it with homemade crostini for a really delicious combination that will leave everyone satisfied.
5. Sunday Morning Denver Strata
Everyone in my family loves a Denver omelet, but there’s no way I can whip up omelets fast enough so we can all eat at the same time. The same goes for toast. By the time I make four servings of toast, the first slices are cold. There is just too much running around to enjoy the meal. This beautiful and delicious take on the Denver omelet can be made the night before and refrigerated until you are ready to bake. Then you can all sit down and enjoy a hot, fresh breakfast without all the jumping around.