There’s a deep satisfaction had in getting multiple meals out of that lovely hunk of ham. One of the best re-uses we can think of for that ham hock, especially during these soon-to-be-quite-chilly months ahead, is a heart-warming, stomach-filling white bean and ham soup. If you have some extra ham to throw in, it will definitely turn up the taste factor. But the great thing about this soup is the incredible amount of bowl-licking flavor that is imparted by just simmering that bone. The rustic, earthy flavors shine through and make this soup a winter must-make.
WHITE BEAN & HAM SOUP
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 1/2 hours
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any
SERVES: 8 to 10
1 meaty ham bone
4 cups water & 4 bouillon cubes (or 8 cups of chicken broth)
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bunch of sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
2 cans (15 ounces each) Great Northern or Navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced ham, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
Start Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Preheat to 325 degrees F with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
Into a large dutch oven add in the olive oil, diced onion, diced celery and minced garlic. Cook on the Traeger, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the chicken broth, water, bouillon, ham bone, bay leaves, thyme, sage and Chinese 5 spice and turn the heat up to High, or 450 degrees F. Once the broth starts simmering, turn the heat back to 325 degrees F and let it simmer, with lid on the pot, for 1 hour.
Add in the carrots and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Add in 3 of the cans of drained beans and additional diced ham and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Take the soup off the Traeger and take out the ham bone and allow to cool before stripping the bone of as much meat as you can.
While the bone is cooling, take the last can of drained beans and blend it along with 1 to 2 cups of the soup broth. (Be sure to put a folded dish towel over the lid as hot things can make the lid pop off.) If you want the soup creamier, blend up more of the beans.
Take out the bay leaves, thyme sprigs and sage leaves and add in the blended beans. If you have good olive oil (California Ranch is a great domestic brand), drizzle a little over each serving. Finish with some crusty bread and you’re ready to eat.
Great Dinner Idea for Christmas or New Year’s Eve: Stuffed Lobster Tail
- 4 frozen cold water lobster tails, each about 1 pound, thawed
- 1 pound raw lump crabmeat or peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 cups diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or thyme (optional)
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups crumbled butter crackers, such as Ritz brand
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl or pot. Set aside.
Bring several inches of salted water to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the lobster tails, cover, and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the tails to the ice water bath and let cool. Drain thoroughly, then cut out the soft “belly shell” with a kitchen shears or clean pair of tin snips.
Remove the tail meat from the shells and set the shells aside. Remove the intestinal tract from the top of each piece of tail meat. Chop the meat into bite-size pieces and combine with the crabmeat or shrimp. Set aside.
Make the stuffing: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent. Stir in the parsley, tarragon, if using, Old Bay, and fresh lemon juice. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool. Stir in the reserved tail meat and crabmeat or shrimp. Add the cracker crumbs and gently stir to combine. (Do not add the crackers until you are ready to cook or they will get soggy.)
Stuff the reserved tail shells with the stuffing, mounding it generously, and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. If the shells are “tippy,” use crumbled aluminum foil to prop the shells upright.
Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 425 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Put the baking sheet with the stuffed tails on the grill grate and roast until the stuffing is crispy and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
SMOKED PORK GREEN CHILI RECIPE
- 4 to 5 pounds country-style pork ribs, preferably bone-in, each at least 3/4 inch thick
- Traeger Pork and Poultry Shake, or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One 12-ounce bottle of beer in a spray bottle
- 20 to 24 fresh chiles, preferably a mix of poblanos, Anaheim, Hatch, or New Mexican chiles
- 2 to 3 jalapeno chiles, or more if you like your chili spicy
- 1-1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and washed, then halved
- 2 large Spanish onions, peeled and cut into quarters through the stem ends
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarse stems removed, a few sprigs reserved for serving
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- Sour cream (optional)
Carefully transfer the chili to a heatproof surface. With tongs, remove the pork country-style ribs to a cutting board. Remove the bones, if any, and chop the pork into bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the chili and stir to distribute. Taste for seasoning, adding more cumin or salt if needed. Serve in bowls with sour cream, if desired, and sprigs of cilantro.
Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat, lard, or vegetable oil
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted
- Butter or honey butter for serving
Grease a cast iron skillet or 9-inch square baking pan with bacon fat.
Put a 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet on the grill grate. If using a regular baking pan, do not preheat. When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and whisk to mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs until well-combined. Add the melted butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is fairly smooth. Do not overmix.
Carefully pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is firm and a tester inserted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Be careful when removing the skillet from the grill as it will be very hot. Let the cornbread cool slightly on a trivet or cooling rack before slicing into wedges or squares.