Food Network Kitchen’s Ham Bone Soup, as seen on Food Network.
Recipe courtesy of Amy Stevenson for Food Network Kitchen

Ham Bone Soup

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 9 hr 40 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: about 3 quarts; 6 to 8 servings
Don't let that leftover bone from your holiday smoked ham go to waste! Put it to use in this hearty, delicious soup, which can be made with ingredients you probably have in your fridge and pantry. It's nice if you have a little meat left clinging to the bone after you’ve carved off all the ham, but even if you don’t, the bone alone will add rich flavor and smokiness to the dish. You'll need to soak the dried beans overnight, so plan accordingly. Luckily this recipe makes a big batch as the soup keeps well in the freezer (see Cook’s Note).



  1. The day before you want to make the soup. put the beans in a large bowl and add cold water to cover by several inches. Soak overnight (or at least 8 hours) in the refrigerator.
  2. Drain the beans and rinse. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and leeks and season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook and stir until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and thyme and stir to coat the vegetables. Let the tomato paste toast for 1 minute, stirring, then add the bay leaves and 12 cups of water. Add the beans and nestle the ham bone in. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are almost tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Add the escarole, another 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt. Return the soup to a simmer and cook until thickened and the beans and escarole are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and ham bone from the soup and let cool until you can handle the bone. Shred any useable meat left on the bone and stir back into the soup. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Cook’s Note

To make ahead, allow the soup to cool completely before transferring to airtight storage containers and refrigerating up to 1 week or freezing up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat over medium heat or in the microwave, adding a little water if it seems too thick.