By Erin Walgamuth
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was a bit crazy, but also lots of fun. There were twenty-three of us here for the special meal. I don’t really know how that happened as originally there were only going to be twelve of us, but no matter as we are the more-the-merrier house!
As our numbers kept growing I was becoming a bit paranoid about only having a twenty-three pound turkey to serve….I know, it sounds nuts to be worried that a twenty-three pound turkey (I think that’s how much my son weighed when he was 4) wouldn’t be enough considering all the side dishes! Anyway, I had a 7 pound, bone-in, spiral cut, Apple Wood Smoked Nueske’s ham in the freezer (say that twenty times fast!) that I decided to thaw as a guarantee that no one would go away hungry, and maybe, just maybe, I’d have some left-overs. It turned out to be a good decision!
Ok, so there really weren’t a lot of turkey left-overs, dang it, and I needed something for dinner the night before my son left to go back to Northern California. There was about half of the Nueske’s ham left clinging to the bone and I had a bag of mixed dried beans and some chicken broth in the pantry….hummm. So, I made bean and ham soup that turned out to be a delicious meal which I served with a green salad. This is not really a recipe with specific ingredient amounts, but more of a suggestion for ham left-overs. Enjoy!
The bag of beans I purchased happened to come equipped with a small bag of ham seasoning which I discarded.
You will need-
6qt or larger soup pot with lid
Heavy duty tongs
Ham bone stripped of most of the meat.
Coarsely chop ham that you have cut off the bone and store in a food container in the refrigerator until ready to add to the soup.
8-12oz bag of mixed dried beans rinsed with cold water and sorted through to make sure there are no pebbles….yes, pebbles!
40oz of chicken broth
I followed the quick-soak method on the bag of beans. After the allotted simmer and soak time, I drained and rinsed the beans, then returned them to the pot. I added the ham bone and the broth. I cooked the beans on simmer until they were tender, but not mushy.
When the beans are tender remove the ham bone with the tongs. Put any beans that are clinging to the bone back into the pot. Discard the bone. I then added the coarsely chopped ham, stirred and served.
Erin Walgamuth  has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe  section.