The holidays are over, now we sit here and stare at winter's ugly mug, hoping we don't lose our minds, until the buds start popping up. The short days and cold temps can really be a downer after you un-deck the halls. So, when you come down from your sugar cookie high, and need the epicurean equivalent of a warm sweater, it's time to make yourself a comfy, cozy pot of hambone soup.
Spiral sliced hams are a great buy. I like to separate the meat, use some of it for sandwiches or omelettes and freeze the rest in baggies, leaving behind the good ol' hambone.
The hambone is packed with deliciousness just begging to be set free and all you have to do to help it out is throw it in some water and let it boil (low boil) away for a couple hours.
The night before I started my soup, I soaked some dried chickpeas in water. You could use canned peas but I really noticed a difference in the texture with the dried. They held up to the soup and even had a bit of firmness to them in the leftover soup.
To go with the soup, I also whipped up a batch of Kitchenaid's Basic White Bread. It's an uber easy recipe and the bread is excellent.
You SO need to make this bread!
While my bread was rising, I got together my soup ingredients. In the biz, we call these bad boys the "aromatics". And by biz, I mean the cooking shows I like to pretend I'm on. In a large Dutch oven, saute the garlic, oregano and thyme in olive oil and butter. Be careful not to burn them.
Add in the sliced/chopped carrots, onion and celery.
After you let the aromatics saute for about 10 minutes (or until the carrots start to soften), pour in the hambone stock, bone and all.
Let your soup simmer on medium low for about an hour. The ham should really be falling apart by now. Pull out the hambone pieces and pick off any meat that's still hanging on and toss it back into the soup. Add in the chickpeas and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
I let everything simmer for on low for about another hour. While you wait, you can play with your adorable sous-chef.
Your bread should be fresh out of the oven and ready to sop up all that hammy goodness.
Exact measurements aren't really needed for this soup. A few carrots, a few stalks of celery, one onion, season to taste. Don't get hung up on being exact with the ingredients and if you want to throw in different beans or maybe butternut squash, go for it!
One last note before you dig in, make sure you take the time to spoon off the excess fat/oil that will be floating on top of the soup. If you don't it will be a greasy spoon... in a bad way