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The Frugal Musician Hams it Up

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Christmas Day, Boyfriend and I went to his mom’s house for a traditional holiday dinner. Boyfriend’s mom is an excellent country cook and Christmas at her house always involves a scrumptious meal with lots of leftovers.

The leftover conversation goes something like this:

Boyfriend’s  Mom- “Please take this home (she points to a giant spread of food) We will not eat it!

Tammy- “OF course yall will eat it. It is a massive amount of food. It will last for days….”

Boyfriend’s Mom (threateningly) “I’m THROWING IT OUT!”

Tammy (calculating the amount of waste in her head) “OH NO. OK. We’ll take it!”

This year’s haul included a half a turkey breast, sweet potatoes, potato salad, cauliflower salad, deviled eggs, gravy, a broccoli casserole and a WHOLE SPIRAL HAM. Yes, a whole spiral ham. Boyfriend’s mom was not keen on the smokey flavoring of the spiral ham and wrapped it up for us to bring home.

Over the past week we’ve had ham sandwiches and ham omlets. I froze slices and chuncks for future use. By the time New Year’s Day rolled around all I had left was the hambone or hamhock, as some call it.

Basically, I had a bone with meat on it. I gleaned the rest of the trimmings from the hambone and froze them in containers that said HAM SEASONING. Ham seasoning is wonderful for greens or beans. Then I made condensed Split Pea and Ham Soup.

Basically, I put the hambone in a pot with five cups of water, and brought it to a boil. I cleaned and rinsed a pound of dried green split peas (we call this “lookin the beans” here in the south- beans are poured into the hand, shuffled around and checked for pebbles, stones and dirt , then put into a bowl to be rinsed with water), poured the water off and added those to the pot as well. I lowered the temp to simmering and allowed the soup to cook about an hour or until the shape of the peas is still discernable. If you cook this too long the peas turn to nothing and your soup is mushy.

I purposely made a condensed version of this soup so I could freeze it in small containers and rehydrate with extra water for future use. If you’re serving a pot of Split Pea and Ham soup to a crowd immediately, use eight cups of water and add extra water as needed.

The soup was wonderful and the best part is I have three containers in the freezer for the remainder of this cold, cold Richmond winter.

What’s your favorite use for holiday leftovers? I’d love to hear about your recipes!