Discover the comforting embrace of a bowl brimming with the savory delight of ham soup recipe, a symphony of flavors ready to captivate your senses.
Enrich your culinary repertoire with this timeless dish, offering a gastronomic experience that transports you to the heart of traditional homely kitchens.
This remarkable recipe, simmered to perfection, releases the potent essence of ham, harmoniously blended with a medley of fresh vegetables.
As the soup warms your insides, you’ll find the taste tantalizing, blending the heartiness of the ham with the subtle sweetness of the veggies.
This ham soup doesn’t just satiate your appetite; it tells a tale of its culinary journey from the humble stovetop to the exquisite bowl in front of you.
Let each spoonful be an adventure, a dive into a delightful concoction of tastes that keeps you coming back for more.
Explore this ham soup recipe, a beautiful blend of tradition, simplicity, and extraordinary flavor.
What Is Ham Soup ?
Ham soup, though a simple term, encompasses a variety of recipes that use ham as a key ingredient. The name can vary based on regional cuisines, ingredients, and cooking techniques.
Popular versions include the hearty ‘Ham and Bean Soup’ and ‘Split Pea Soup with Ham.’ In Spain, you might encounter ‘Sopa de Jamón,’ while in France, it could be ‘Soupe aux Pois et Jambon.’
Regardless of its name, this comforting soup universally symbolizes warmth, home-cooked goodness, and the satisfying, rich flavor of ham slow-cooked to perfection.
History Of Ham Soup
Ham soup has been a mainstay in culinary traditions around the globe for centuries. It is often linked to economical – hearty meals, where leftover ham, particularly the bone, is simmered to extract rich flavor and nutrients.
For instance, ham and bean soup gained popularity in the American South post-Civil War, utilizing ham hocks for a rich, smoky base.
Similarly, in Europe, ham soups like the Spanish’ Sopa de Jamón’ and French’ Soupe aux Pois et Jambon’ trace their roots to peasant cuisines where nothing was wasted.
The common thread across cultures is the idea of transforming simple ingredients into nourishing, flavorful meals.
Interesting Facts About Ham Soup
- Versatile: Ham soup can be tailored to incorporate a range of flavors and ingredients, from hearty beans to delicate vegetables, making it incredibly versatile.
- No Waste: Traditionally, ham soup was a way to use leftover ham, especially the bone, ensuring zero waste while adding depth of flavor to the soup.
- Global Influence: Ham soup has many international variations, each influenced by regional ingredients and culinary techniques, like the Spanish’ Sopa de Jamón’ or the French’ Soupe aux Pois et Jambon.’
- Nutrient-rich: Slow-cooking the ham, especially the bone, in soup allows the extraction of collagen, minerals, and vitamins, making it not just delicious but also nutritious.
- Comfort Food: Ham soup is often associated with comfort and warmth, regularly featured in home cooking during colder months, and is a staple in many cultures’ holiday meals.
What Makes The Ham Soup Special?
The special charm of ham soup lies in its soul-satisfying simplicity and versatility. It’s a wonderful way to repurpose leftovers, especially a ham bone, which imparts the soup a deep, rich flavor and aroma.
The slow simmering process allows the ingredients to meld together harmoniously, creating a delectable blend of comforting and nutritious tastes. Furthermore, the soup can be tailored to individual preferences, accommodating a wide array of vegetables, legumes, and spices.
Its popularity spans cultures and cuisines, each presenting a unique twist on this classic. Despite its simplicity, the ham soup delivers an unmatched combination of warmth, comfort, and gastronomical delight.
|Olive oil||1 tbsp|
|Medium onion, peeled and chopped||1|
|Garlic cloves, crushed||2|
|Honey roasted ham, cubed||225g/8oz|
|Chicken stock/broth||750ml/3 cups|
|Black pepper||To taste|
|Chopped tomatoes||1 400g/14oz tin|
- Ham: If possible, use a leftover ham bone with some meat on it. The bone will add depth and richness to your broth, while the meat adds heartiness.
- Vegetables: Fresh vegetables will offer the best flavor. Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes work well, but feel free to add others like celery, peas, or bell peppers.
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, or split peas make a great addition, providing extra texture and protein. Be sure to soak them beforehand if they’re dry.
- Herbs and Spices: Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley can enhance the flavor of your soup. Bay leaves, black pepper, and a hint of paprika or cayenne pepper can add a nice kick.
- Stock: Homemade stock will always be more flavorful than store-bought, but in a pinch, a good quality, low-sodium store-bought broth will do.
- Acidity: A splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking can brighten the flavors.
- Dairy: If you prefer a creamier soup, consider adding a splash of cream or a dollop of sour cream just before serving.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Keto & Paleo: Stick to high-protein and low-carb ingredients. Use the ham bone for flavor, but increase the amount of ham meat and low-carb vegetables like broccoli or spinach. Avoid legumes and starchy vegetables.
- Gluten-Free: Ham soup is naturally gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free stock and avoid any thickening agents like flour. Always double-check labels to ensure ingredients are gluten-free.
- Whole30: For a Whole30-compliant recipe, avoid adding legumes and dairy. Use a compliant stock and focus on Whole30-approved vegetables and spices.
- Vegetarian & Vegan: You can make a vegetarian or vegan version by substituting the ham with smoked tofu or tempeh for a similar smoky flavor. Use vegetable stock and include a variety of veggies and legumes for added nutrition.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add chopped onions and crushed garlic to the pot and sauté until they are softened and fragrant.
- Add the cubed honey-roasted ham to the pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the chicken stock/broth, then add paprika and black pepper to taste.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for about 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
- Serve hot, and enjoy!
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Protein: Swap ham for smoked turkey, chicken, or sausage. For a vegetarian version, consider adding smoked tofu or tempeh.
- Vegetables: Feel free to switch up the veggies based on the season or your preferences. Try adding kale, spinach, bell peppers, or sweet potatoes.
- Legumes: Add in cooked lentils, split peas, or different kinds of beans to give the soup extra heartiness and protein.
- Grains: Add cooked rice, barley, or pasta to the soup to make it more filling.
- Dairy: A splash of cream or dollop of sour cream can make the soup creamier. Alternatively, a sprinkle of cheese like cheddar or Parmesan adds an excellent finish.
- Spices and Herbs: Add fresh herbs like basil or cilantro for a fresh finish. Spice it up with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or paprika.
- Croutons: Homemade or store-bought croutons add a delightful crunch.
- Bacon Bits: For extra smoky flavor and texture, sprinkle some cooked, crumbled bacon on top.
- Fresh Herbs: Freshly chopped parsley, chives, or green onions add color and flavor.
- Seeds: A sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds can add a nice crunch and extra nutrients.
Scaling The Recipe
- Scaling Up: If you’re catering for a larger group, you can double or triple the recipe ingredients. Make sure your soup pot is large enough to accommodate the increased quantity. Also, be mindful of the cooking time, as a larger volume may take longer to heat through and for the flavors to meld.
- Scaling Down: If you want to make the soup for fewer people, you can halve the ingredients. This will reduce the quantity without changing the flavors or proportions. Remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly since a smaller quantity will likely cook faster.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, chives, or green onions on top of the soup just before serving. Not only do they add a pop of color, but they also bring a burst of freshness.
- Cream or Sour Cream: A drizzle of cream or a dollop of sour cream can add a luxurious, creamy touch, especially if the soup is spicy or robust.
- Cheese: Grated or shaved cheese, such as Parmesan or cheddar, can melt into the hot soup, adding depth of flavor and richness.
- Croutons: Homemade or store-bought croutons add a delightful crunchy contrast to the smooth soup.
- Bacon Bits: If you want to reinforce the smoky flavor, garnish with some cooked, crumbled bacon.
- Seeds: Toasted pumpkin, sunflower, or even a sprinkle of sesame seeds can add an appealing crunch and a hint of nuttiness.
Can I Make Soup Name In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
- If you have time and your slow cooker has a sauté feature, start by sautéing the onions in olive oil until browned. If not, you can skip this step.
- Add all your ingredients to the slow cooker – the ham, vegetables, herbs, spices, and broth.
- Set the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. This long, slow cooking process will extract maximum flavor from the ham and blend the flavors beautifully.
- If your soup needs blending, you can do this at the end with an immersion blender. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Using the sauté function, brown the onions in olive oil.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot – the ham, vegetables, herbs, spices, and broth.
- Secure the lid, ensure the valve is set to “sealing,” and set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes.
- After the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then perform a quick release for any remaining pressure.
- If you prefer a smoother soup, use an immersion blender to blend the soup to your desired consistency right in the Instant Pot. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
- Homemade Broth: If you have the time and ingredients, homemade broth is a great option. It allows you to control the flavor profile more precisely and is often richer and more complex than store-bought versions. Homemade broth can also be more cost-effective, especially if you’re using leftover bones and vegetable scraps.
- Store-Bought Broth: Store-bought broth is an excellent choice for convenience and time-saving. Look for a high-quality, low-sodium version to control your soup’s salt level. Many stores also offer organic or specialty broths (like bone broth), which can add unique flavors to your soup.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables?
- Meat: If ham isn’t your preference, feel free to substitute it with other meats. Smoked turkey, chicken, beef, or even sausage can work well. Remember that the meat flavors you choose will impact the overall taste of the soup.
- Fish: While not a common substitute in this particular soup, you could use a firm fish like salmon or cod if you’d like a lighter soup. Be aware that fish will cook much faster than ham, so adjust your cooking times accordingly.
- Pasta: Adding pasta can make the soup more substantial. Small types of pasta like orzo, macaroni, or shells would work well. If you’re using a soup maker or Instant Pot, add the pasta towards the end of cooking to prevent it from becoming too soft.
- Vegetables: Feel free to change up the vegetables based on what you have on hand. Root vegetables like turnips or sweet potatoes, greens like kale or spinach, or other veggies could all work well. Be aware that softer vegetables will cook faster, so you may want to add them later in the cooking process.
Success Tips-Tips And Tricks For The Recipe
Making soup can be quite simple and rewarding, but having a few tips and tricks up your sleeve can take your soup from good to great. Here are some to consider:
- Quality Ingredients: Start with the best quality ingredients you can find. Fresh vegetables and high-quality meats or broth will always yield a better-tasting soup.
- Proper Chopping: Ensure that your vegetables are chopped uniformly. This helps them cook at the same rate and creates a more pleasing presentation.
- Seasoning: Remember to season your ingredients before they go into the pot. This includes meat and vegetables.
- Sauté: If time allows, start by sautéing aromatics (like onions, garlic, and herbs) to build a flavor base for your soup.
- Layering Flavors: Add ingredients in stages, starting with those that take the longest to cook. This will ensure everything is perfectly cooked and that flavors have time to meld together.
- Simmer, Don’t Boil: Let the soup simmer rather than boil once all your ingredients are added. A slow simmer will extract the maximum flavor from the ingredients and also help to tenderize any meats.
- Taste and Adjust: Always taste your soup before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed. Extra salt, pepper, or a splash of acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) brightens up the flavors.
- Rest Time: Let your soup rest for a while before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together even more, resulting in a tastier soup.
Nutritional values for the recipe may vary depending on the specific ingredients used. However, on average, this recipe may provide approximately: Calories: 350-400, Fat: 15-20g, Carbohydrates: 30-35g, Protein: 20-25g, Sodium: 800-1000mg. These values are estimates and may vary based on the specific brands and measurements used in the recipe.
What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?
A basic recipe could include ingredients like ham, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, and broth. Assuming a serving size of around 1.5 cups, such a soup might contain roughly 150-250 calories.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Recipe
- Vegetarian/Vegan: The traditional recipe includes ham, which is unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans. However, it could be modified by using vegetable broth and substituting the ham with a plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh.
- Gluten-Free: The basic ham and vegetable soup is naturally gluten-free. However, always check labels if you’re using store-bought broth or any processed ingredients, as they can sometimes contain hidden gluten.
- Dairy-Free: If the recipe does not include dairy products, it is suitable for those avoiding dairy. However, that would need to be omitted if you’re using a cream garnish or a dollop of sour cream.
- Low-Carb/Keto: While the ham in the soup is low-carb, many vegetables typically used in the soup (like carrots and potatoes) are higher in carbs. The soup needs to be adapted for a low-carb or keto diet by using lower-carb vegetables and increasing the amount of ham.
- Halal/Kosher: Ham is not halal or kosher. For those following these dietary laws, ham could be replaced with a permissible form of protein.
Health Benefits Of The Recipe
- High in Protein: Ham is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, among other bodily functions.
- Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Vegetables in the soup provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. For example, carrots are rich in beta-carotene (which converts into vitamin A), and potatoes offer a good dose of vitamin C and potassium.
- Hydration: Soup, being liquid-based, contributes to your daily fluid intake, helping to keep you hydrated.
- Lower Calorie Option: Depending on the ingredients used, soups can be a lower-calorie option for meals, making them a good choice for those watching their calorie intake.
- Fiber: If you’re using a variety of vegetables and possibly legumes in your soup, it can be a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber helps with digestion and can aid in weight management by providing a sense of fullness.
- Bone Health: If you’re using the ham bone to make your soup, it can provide additional health benefits. The bone, when simmered, can release collagen and other beneficial nutrients that promote bone and joint health.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Use Low-Sodium or No-Sodium Broth: Opt for low-sodium or no-sodium store-bought broth, or make your own at home where you can control the salt content.
- Limit Added Salt: Be mindful of the amount of salt you add during cooking. You can often add less than the recipe calls for and then allow individuals to season their own portion to taste if needed.
- Choose Fresh or Frozen Vegetables: Avoid canned vegetables, which often contain added salt. Instead, use fresh or frozen vegetables.
- Use Fresh Meat: Processed meats like ham can be high in sodium. If possible, use fresh ham and control the amount of salt added during cooking.
- Add Flavor Without Salt: Use herbs, spices, vinegar, or citrus juice to add flavor without adding sodium. Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley or spices like black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder can add a lot of flavor.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Choose Low-Sugar Vegetables: Some vegetables, like carrots and onions, have higher natural sugar content. Opt for lower-sugar vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, zucchini, or celery.
- Avoid Sweetened Broths: Ensure your broth or stock doesn’t contain added sugars. It’s best to check the ingredients on store-bought versions or make your own at home.
- Be Aware of Processed Meats: Some processed meats can contain sugars in their curing mixture. Look for ham without added sugars, or consider using fresh pork instead.
How To Serve The Soup In The Best Way?
- Garnish: Top the soup with a fresh garnish such as chopped parsley, basil, or cilantro. This adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
- Bread or Croutons: Serve the soup alongside crusty bread or homemade croutons. They can be used for dipping or as a side for a satisfying meal.
- Cheese: Consider adding a sprinkle of grated cheese on top of the soup, such as Parmesan, cheddar, or mozzarella. The melted cheese adds richness and flavor.
- Accompaniments: Additional toppings or accompaniments like sour cream, yogurt, or avocado slices. These can be added to the soup to enhance the creaminess and provide contrasting textures.
- Pairing: To create a well-rounded meal, consider serving the soup with a side salad or a light sandwich. The freshness of the salad or the flavors of the sandwich can complement the soup nicely.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe
- Crusty Bread: Serve a basket of crusty bread or bread rolls on the side. Slices of baguette or artisan bread can be toasted or dipped into the soup for added texture and satisfaction.
- Salad: A fresh and vibrant salad can provide a nice contrast to the warm and hearty soup. Consider a mixed green salad with a tangy vinaigrette or a Mediterranean salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic grilled cheese sandwich pairs wonderfully with tomato-based soups. Choose your favorite bread and cheese combination and grill it until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.
- Bruschetta: Prepare some delicious bruschetta by toasting slices of baguette and topping them with diced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil. The flavors of the bruschetta complement the soup beautifully.
- Roasted Vegetables: Roast a medley of seasonal vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. The caramelized flavors of the roasted vegetables will provide a lovely contrast to the soup.
- Quiche: Serve a slice of quiche on the side for a more substantial meal. Spinach and feta quiche or ham and cheese quiche would be excellent choices to pair with the soup.
How Long Can We Store The Soup ?
The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for approximately 3-4 days. Make sure to cool the soup completely before transferring it to an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap. When reheating, ensure the soup is heated thoroughly to a safe temperature before consuming.
If you need to store the soup for longer, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Divide the soup into individual portions or freezer-safe containers before freezing for easier thawing and reheating later.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
Yes, you can make the soup in advance. Preparing the soup ahead of time can be a convenient option for meal planning or when hosting guests. Here are a few steps to follow when making soup in advance:
- Cook the soup as per the recipe instructions, allowing it to simmer and develop flavors.
- Once the soup is cooked, let it cool down to room temperature. Avoid leaving it at room temperature for over 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
- Once cooled, transfer the soup to an airtight container or divide it into individual portions if desired.
- Refrigerate the soup promptly and store it for up to 3-4 days.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Soup Reheating: Enjoy the leftovers as a quick and convenient meal. Reheat the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave until it’s warmed through, and serve it as is.
- Freezing: If you have a large amount of leftover soup and don’t plan to consume it within a few days, you can freeze it in individual portions or in airtight containers. This allows you to enjoy the soup at a later time when you’re in the mood for it.
- Soup Remix: Transform the leftover soup into a new dish, using it as a base for other recipes. For example, you can turn it into pasta sauce by adding cooked pasta, vegetables, and some grated cheese. Alternatively, blend the soup to create a flavorful sauce for meat, poultry, or vegetables.
- Soup as a Sauce: Use the leftover soup as a sauce or flavor enhancer. You can add a ladle of soup to a casserole, stew, or stir-fry to impart extra flavor and moisture.
- Soup as a Starter: If you have a smaller portion of leftover soup, consider serving it as a starter or appetizer for another meal. It can be a delightful addition to a multi-course dinner or a quick lunch.
Special Tools/Equipment Needed
- Large Pot: A large pot or soup pot will be needed to cook the soup. Choose a pot with enough capacity to accommodate the ingredients and allow room for stirring.
- Cutting Board and Knife: A cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for chopping onions and garlic.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is useful for stirring the ingredients in the pot.
- Measuring Utensils: Measuring spoons and measuring cups are helpful for accurately portioning out ingredients like olive oil, paprika, and chicken stock.
- Can Opener: If using canned chopped tomatoes, a can opener will be required to open the tin.
- Stovetop or Range: A stovetop or range is necessary to heat the pot and cook the soup.
- Ladle or Serving Spoon: A ladle or serving spoon will be handy for serving the soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use A Different Type Of Meat Instead Of Honey Roasted Ham?
Absolutely! While honey roasted ham adds a unique flavor, you can substitute it with other cooked meats such as cooked chicken, turkey, or even cooked bacon for a different twist.
Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes Instead Of Canned Chopped Tomatoes?
Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes in place of canned chopped tomatoes. Simply dice fresh tomatoes and use them in the same quantity as mentioned in the recipe. Keep in mind that fresh tomatoes may alter the consistency and flavor slightly.
How Can I Make The Soup Vegetarian Or Vegan?
To make the soup vegetarian, you can omit the honey roasted ham and replace the chicken stock or broth with vegetable stock or broth. For a vegan version, ensure that all ingredients, including the stock or broth, are plant-based and free from animal products.
Can I Freeze The Soup?
Yes, you can freeze the soup for future use. Allow the soup to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Label them with the date and freeze them for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Can I Adjust The Recipe For A Larger Or Smaller Batch?
Certainly! You can easily adjust the recipe to make a larger or smaller batch. Just keep the ingredient proportions in mind and scale them up or down accordingly. Adjust the cooking time if needed, as larger or smaller quantities may require slight modifications.
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