Cooking 101 – Ham Stock

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All those lovely memories of that special Christmas meal with family and friends. Love, laughter, stories and so much sharing of the whole year’s events, both happy and sad ones. Wishing my readers bountiful blessings from a gracious God!

Having feasted on such an array of  festive goodies, your taste buds are now asking for different flavours. One good way to keep the flavours and sweet memories of that celebration fresh in our minds is to make a good stock with the left overs from the succulent bone-in ham you had served.

HINT: Use the turkey carcass and some of the leftover turkey meat in a similar fashion. Any left over roasted chicken can also be combined with the turkey. Roasted meats make a deeper flavour stock.
Preparation of the Ingredients
STEP 1. Before doing so, trim some ham from the leg of ham and cube them (do leave a meaty ham bone for a more flavourful stock). I usually pack ham cubes into smaller bags for the freezer. They are a prized item in Chinese Fried Rice. Click here for Chinese ODM -Fried Rice. You will need a pack of these cubes for Ham and Pea Soup.
STEP 2. Cut the ham bone into 2 large pieces at the joint.
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STEP 3. The other ingredients. Wash and peel where applicable. One large quartered  onion, one large quartered carrot, 3 celery stalks (or the centre heart of the bunch, leaves and all), parsley, 2 bay leaves, 1 Tbsp of black peppercorns as the condiments for this stock.
An excellent way of using all those left overs from cooking your Christmas meal. For more details about making stocks, you might like to refer to an earlier post. Click here.
Although it is not essential,  if you have a pressure cooker use it. It shortens the cooking time. However, if you don’t possess one just lengthen the stove-top cooking time by an hour and a half.
 Cooking the Ham Stock
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STEP 1. Place your pressure cooker or stock pot on the stove. Add all the washed and roughly chopped vegetables, condiments and the 2 pieces of ham bone. Pour enough water to cover all the contents by 3 inches. Heat on high heat.
STEP 2. Cover and lock the pressure cooker lid. Once you hear the hissing sound and see a steady stream of steam coming out of your pressure cooker, lower the heat to such a level that you still hear a slight hissing and there is no change in the height of the pressure button (indicates amount of pressure in the pot). Cook for 2 hours.
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STEP 3. Whilst the ham stock is cooking, prepare your plastic bags. Ensure that your plastic bag is meant for hot soup. There are also several kinds of Ziplock bags available in the market place. You might also want to indicate a date on the bags.
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STEP 4. After 2 hours, shut off the heat. Cool the pressure cooker as this will release the pressure enabling you to slide open the cover. Strain the ham stock into a larger bowl or saucepan. I line the prepared plastic bag into another container and pour the cooled ham stock through a tea strainer. I made 2 bags of 2 1/2 cups of ham stock each.
HINT. You can also pack this stock into half cup sizes and use them in your stews, stir fry noodle dishes.
 Recipes which use this Ham Stock
You are now ready to make Ham and Pea Soup. Some months ago, in anticipation of our usual Christmas ham,  I brought home 2 packets of dried split green peas as I could never find them on sale here. Good news. My daughter in law found a packet of Bob’s Red Mill Split Green Peas at Cold Storage at Novena Square.
If you prefer a clear soup that is from the Chinese cuisine, you might like to use 1 to 2 cups of this Ham stock and combine it and equal amount of  Homemade Chicken (click here) or Pork (click here) Stock for a slight variation in Jin Hua Ham and Melon Soup. Click here for the recipe.
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