Hambone Soup recipe

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Hambone soup is a comforting and hearty dish that makes excellent use of a leftover ham bone. It’s a flavorful, nutritious, and economical way to create a delicious meal. In this detailed recipe, we’ll guide you through the process of making a simple and heartwarming hambone soup that’s perfect for any occasion, especially on a chilly day when you’re craving comfort food.


For the Soup Base:

  • 1 ham bone with some meat left on it (leftover from a roasted ham)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Soup Vegetables:

  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley (optional, for added heartiness)

For the Optional Garnish:

  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Crusty bread or dinner rolls


Preparing the Ham Bone:

  1. Inspect and Clean the Ham Bone:
    • Examine the ham bone to ensure it’s clean and free of any visible debris. Remove any excess meat still attached to the bone and set it aside.

Creating the Soup Base:

  1. Sauté the Aromatics:
    • In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
    • Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes until they become soft and fragrant.
  2. Introduce the Ham Bone:
    • Place the cleaned ham bone in the pot with the sautéed onion and garlic. Sear the ham bone on both sides until it becomes lightly browned.
  3. Add Seasonings:
    • Incorporate the bay leaves, dried thyme, dried rosemary, black pepper, and a pinch of salt to the pot. Stir to release the aromatic flavors.
  4. Pour in Water:
    • Add 8 cups of water to the pot. This will be the flavorful base of your hambone soup.
  5. Simmer:
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the ham bone simmer for at least an hour or until it begins to release its savory flavors into the broth. The longer you simmer, the more flavorful your soup will be.

Building the Soup:

  1. Strain the Broth:
    • Once the ham bone has simmered and the broth is well flavored, remove the ham bone from the pot. Allow it to cool slightly, and then pick off any remaining meat from the bone. Add this meat back to the pot. Discard the bone and any excess fat.
  2. Add Vegetables and Barley:
    • Introduce the peeled and diced potatoes, green beans, corn kernels, peas, and diced tomatoes to the pot. If you’re adding pearl barley for added heartiness, now is the time to include it.
  3. Simmer Again:
    • Cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer for about 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. The pearl barley will also cook and thicken the soup during this time.
  4. Season to Taste:
    • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Serving and Optional Garnish:

  1. Serving the Hambone Soup:
    • Ladle the hot and hearty hambone soup into serving bowls.
  2. Garnish (Optional):
    • Top each serving with freshly chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese for added flavor and a pop of color.
  3. Enjoy with Bread:
    • Serve your hambone soup with crusty bread or dinner rolls for a complete and satisfying meal.


Simple and hearty hambone soup is a comforting and flavorful dish that transforms a leftover ham bone into a delicious and nourishing meal. This recipe is an excellent way to utilize every bit of flavor from the ham bone, resulting in a savory broth filled with tender vegetables and, if you choose, pearl barley for added heartiness. Whether you’re making it to warm up on a cold day or as a meal for the family, this detailed recipe ensures you can create a hambone soup that’s both satisfying and heartwarming. Enjoy the rich flavors and warmth of this delightful dish!

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