Ham stock isn’t a stock I keep on hand all the time, but I’m loath to toss away scraps of food, especially meaty ham bones. That’s why I always turn these into stock. Ham bones make for a marvelously savory stock with a smoky flavor that’s perfect as a base for sauces and soups like split-pea soup.
If you’re buying the bone from the butcher, have them cut it in half, This not only exposes the marrow, it also helps make it fit in the pot. If you’re upcycling a bone leftover from the holidays, you can cut them in half pretty easily using a clean hacksaw. Just pick the thinnest part of the bone and saw at it until you get most of the way through, then you should be able to snap it with your hands.
I generally don’t like to add herbs or spices to my stocks because flavors such ginger for a more Asian stock or bay leaves for a more Western stock can be infused relatively easily after the stock is made. This keeps the stock as versatile as possible especially if you don’t know what you’re going to use the stock for when you make it.
As with any stock, this ham stock freezes well, and will keep for months in the freezer. It’s best to portion it into sizes that you think you’ll use, otherwise you’ll have to defrost it to split it up. Large ice cube trays work well for making small portions and you can measure out one or two cup portions and freeze them in plastic containers. Once the stock is frozen you can take them out of the containers and then stack and store them all in freezer bags to save space.
- Wash any loose dirt off the outside of the leek. Slice thinly and then add to a colander. Rinse vigorously under running water to remove any grit between the layers.
- Add the leeks to a pressure cooker along with a tablespoon of oil. Cover (but do not seal) the pot and let the leeks steam over medium heat until the leeks have wilted.
- Remove the lid and saute until the leeks have caramelized.
- Add the ham bone and water. Cover and seal the pressure cooker and cook under high pressure for 1 hour.
- Follow your pressure cooker's instructions to release the pressure or let it drop naturally and then strain the stock.
- Portion the stock and freeze or use it within a few days.