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Ham Stock

Ham stock, as the name suggests, is a stock made by simmering ham bones along with vegetables, herbs and spices in water for a few hours. This stock from the Cajun cuisine, is made using ham hocks which are the pork cuts along the ankle joints of a pig. Ham stock is usually thick and is used for making soups and sauces.

How to Make Ham Stock?

Ingredients- The ingredients which are required to prepare ham stock include ham bones, onions, dried bay leaves, peppercorns and water.

Preparation- Ham stock recipe is simple and easy to follow. The bones along with onions, bay leaf, peppercorn and water are put in the stockpot and then simmered for 3 to 4 hours. The scum deposits on the top are skimmed frequently. Once done, the mixture is strained to get a nutritious and thick ham stock.

Popular Variations to Ham Stock Recipe

The traditional ham stock preparation calls for country ham which is ham dry-cured in salt, smoked and aged. Ham hocks are conveniently available and economical too.

In some cuisines, ham is soaked in water overnight to reduce the saltiness. The choice of vegetables and herbs also varies from place to place depending upon the culinary traditions. Tomatoes, when added to the stock give a bright color and tangy taste to the stock. Roasted vegetables like onions make the stock dark in color which is often used in making brown colored gravy dishes. Rosemary and thyme deliver excellent aroma to the ham stock. Besides, to save time sometimes pressure cooking technique is used instead of simmering.

Culinary Use of Ham Stock

Ham stock when used in other recipes imparts rich flavor and texture to the dishes. The stock can be used for preparing root vegetables, beans and peas. Ham stock and lentil soup is a popular soup preparation done by using ham stock. Also, the stock is ideal for being used as a base for many sauces and stews. Honey pineapple ham stock sauce is one such sauce recipe and the sauce is mostly served with sea foods and grilled chicken.

Popular Ham Stock Recipes

  • Ham and lentil soup- It is a delicious soup prepared by combining lentils with carrots, celery, garlic, and ham stock.
  • Ham based risotto- A wholesome meal prepared by cooking long grained polished rice along with browned onions and ham stock.
  • Ham and bean soup- It is a commonly made soup which makes use of white beans, ham stock, herbs and spices and vegetables like carrots, onions and celery. The soup has many nutritional benefits as it is a potential source of fiber, carbohydrates and proteins.

Storing Ham Stock

Ham stock can be easily stored for 3-4 days in the refrigerator after it settles at the room temperature and the fat is skimmed off. However, if prepared in large batches, it is ideal to store it in ice cube trays, in the freezer, where it can last up to 3- 4 months easily.

Tips for Making Ham Stock

  • Smoked ham hocks add to the flavor of the stock. Chemically processed hocks should be avoided for making stock.
  • The fat layer is easy to remove after the stock has been cooled down either by refrigerating it or by letting it settle at room temperature.
  • Some particles are left in the stock even after straining; these can be removed by adding egg white to the stock when simmering. After stirring for few minutes, the particles will stick to the egg and once the egg settles, it can be taken out easily from the ham stock.