Real Food for Real Life

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bones and shells...

Here is the process I used in dealing with the ham bone I used in the jambalaya.  This same method will work for other dishes, but if you are making bean soup, you may just wish to cook the bone with the beans (just remove the bone at the end and add back the meat).

Whenever we have ham, I intentionally leave quite a bit of meat on the bone- not only is serving easier this way, but it leaves the bone meaty for other uses.  I simmered the bone covered all morning while I was busy with other things and just checked it every now and then, turning the bone around in the stock each time.  The water covered about 3/4 of the bone when I started and used no added seasonings, ham having plenty already.

I removed the bones and meat to a plate to you can see, the meat fell off in pieces.

Once it was cool enough to handle, I shredded up the meat, leaving it in fairly large pieces, and discarded the fat, bones, and silver skin.  I ended up with roughly 2 cups of meat.

I strained the broth into a large bowl- this removes any small bones, as well as pieces of fat that have broken off unto the stock.

A few hours in the fridge solidified the fat.  This I skimmed off to brown the ham for the jambalaya.  This fat can be reserved to cook with, just make sure to refrigerate it, or discarded.  The stock below is gelatinous, like loose jello, a good sign that it simmered a long time.  If not using the stock now, just ladle into freezer containers for later use, I find 2 cup portions to be most helpful.

I used 4 cups for the jambalaya and still had 2 cups leftover for the freezer.

I have been saving the shells from shrimp in the freezer with the intention of making stock.  After peeling the shrimp for the jambalaya I had the shells from 4 pounds of shrimp and decided to go ahead and make it.  I put the shells in a medium pan with about 5 cups of water, a teaspoon of salt, small handful of whole black peppercorns, and a Bay leaf.

 I left this to simmer while I made dinner (about and hour).  I turned off the heat and just left it until I was leaning up after dinner.

Strain the broth into a bowl, pressing on the shells with the back of a spoon to get out all of the liquid.  I tasted the stock, and with the addition of a bit more salt, would have been perfectly good to sip on its own.  I can't wait to see what idea hits me to use this wonderful stuff.

I ended up with 4 generous cups of stock to tuck away in the freezer.  This took practically no effort.  And to think, I could have just thrown the shells away, which is what I have done for years :-(


  1. On Facebook:
    Tracey said:
    I have an interesting cookbook given to me by a woman I worked with briefly. its fascinating.its gives the history of her italian family (including pictures, etc) One of the things I found most interesting is in one recipe there is a stor...y about how they would take a bone, cook it all day while they were working in the garden/fields then from that stock add vegetables, beans etc. Meat was usually only served on Sundays, everything else was usually beans or veggie based. i suppose I find this fascinating in our wasteful society and how we are so quick to just spend money on fast food and throw away everything. I think its interesting how immigrants to this country have always been frugal (yet they are so successful...because they work hard.) See More
    July 31 at 10:35pm

  2. On Facebook:
    Casa En La Cocina said: Yes, we are becoming more and more a throw away society, and as a family we are trying to be more aware and do the right thing, but sometimes it just seems sooo easy not to. The funny thing about food though, is how the "old" (frugal) ways are now hip...making stocks, canning foods, etc.
    August 1 at 9:50am

    On Facebook:
    Tracey said: Yeah i know. I am surprised how many people are getting into gardening as well.. We always had a garden even when we lived on fairfield, even if it was just some tomato plants, green onions, lettuce etc. i'm thinking someone could become a millionaire if they raised red peppers! outrageous cost.
    August 1 at 10:10am

    On Facebook:
    Casa En La Cocina said: You should see the corner of my deck...bell peppers (just waiting for them to turn red), jalapeños, tomatoes, basil, sage, and thyme.
    August 1 at 10:37am


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