You know the drill: You haul that gorgeous haunch o’ hog out of the oven come Easter, and then, days-of-leftovers later, you’re staring at the dang bone, a few bits of succulence still clinging to its nearly bare topography.
Make the most of it, people.
“It brings you lots of caramelized taste,” says Mark Scarbrough, co-author with Bruce Weinstein of the just-released “Ham: An Obsession With the Hindquarter” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95).
Go beyond mere bean soup or stew. Seize that hambone, and put it to work in any one of these variations, courtesy of Scarbrough:
•In a rice cooker (or saucepan) with medium-grain rice.
•Throw it into almost any chili (to give a little salty, smoky taste).
•In a pot of tomato sauce or jarred sauce if you want to add a meaty taste without adding meat.
•In the bottom layer of a steamer with veggies on top to add flavor.
•Boiling a pot of water for pasta? Add a hambone first, boil a few minutes, take it out and add the noodles.
Or try this soup recipe adapted from Scarbrough and Weinstein’s book.
Ham and Corn Chowder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
6 ounces smoked ham, chopped
3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 each, chopped: onion, large Yukon Gold potato
1 teaspoon each: dried marjoram, grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
3 cups salt-free, fat-free chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 cooked hambone with some meat still adhering to it
1/2 cup whipping cream or milk
1 teaspoon salt, optional
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons flour
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the ham; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 3 minutes.
Stir in the corn, onion and potato. Cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Add the marjoram, lemon zest and celery seeds; cook 20 seconds.
Add the broth and wine. Heat to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add the bone; cover the pot. Reduce heat to low; simmer 45 minutes.
Stir in the cream; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook 2 minutes. Mash the flour with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl until smooth. Drop small pieces of the butter mixture into the simmering soup, in six to eight additions, stirring well after each. Cook, stirring, until soup thickens.
Remove the hambone; scrape off any meat still clinging to it with the back of a knife, letting the meat fall into the pot. Taste for seasoning.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 348 calories (48 percent from fat), 19 grams fat (10 grams saturated), 70 milligrams cholesterol, 32 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 66 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.