When my sister Janice brought over a large gorgeous baked ham for Easter dinner last Sunday, it was clear to me right away there would be leftovers. After our family celebrated a wonderful meal together, Janice and I started to clear up the table and discuss what types of meals we would both be respectively cooking from the leftover ham. As she loaded the dishwasher and I put away food, she was enthusiastic about making split pea soup the next day. However, knowing I had a super-warehouse sized bag of baby kale leaves in my refrigerator, a couple of onions, large gold potatoes, a can of navy beans, and a box of chicken broth in my pantry, I knew a portion of my leftover ham would be used to make Ham, Kale, and Bean soup.
Generally speaking, my attitude about cooking with leftovers is all about being flexible, using what I have on hand, and often times coming up with a new dish which transforms leftovers into an entirely new dish unrelated to the original.
What I made for dinner today was not only quick and easy; it was filling, delicious, and comforting – perfect for a typical grey Seattle rainy day.
Using leftover ham imparts a wonderful smoky flavor to just about any dish, especially soups and stews. You can easily substitute ham for any recipe calling for bacon and get a similar type of flavor, which shouldn’t be a surprise since they are both pork products. For the soup I’m sharing with you today, it is not your typical ham and bean soup. By adding a touch of cumin and coriander, these spices give the soup an additional depth of flavor which complements the ham so well. The potatoes and kale give the soup an added dimension of heartiness making this soup a main dish worth using leftover ham for.
If you have some ham left in your refrigerator, don’t hesitate to make this Ham, Kale, and Bean soup for tonight’s family dinner. Add some warm crust bread and you have yourself a meal. From our home to yours, enjoy!