Use up that delicious leftover ham bone and create this comforting, soup for the soul Gluten Free Baked Potato Ham Bone Soup. Dinner doesn’t get much cozier.
Is it over???
Have you returned back to normal life???
I didn’t think so! It’s going to take at least another week for me to recuperate from the holidays. It’s absolutely mind boggling how exhausting the holiday season can be. I find it weird that I can practically get the same amount of sleep, participate in the same amount of activities, and obviously watch over the same amount of children, yet just because it is “holiday break” I am fifty times more tired.
Really, it’s not like I just sit around all day while Braelyn is at school and do nothing. If anything, I am more productive while my children are in school. So why am I so dang pooped???!
I’ve determined it is more so the emotional stress, not necessarily the physical stress, of the holidays that actually wears you out:
- It’s making sure your kids receive the presents they want while at the same time teaching them the true spirit of the holidays.
- It’s planning parties and remembering to invite all your friends so that not a single person feels left out or unwanted.
- It’s writing grocery list after grocery list ensuring that you have enough food for all of your festivities, yet inevitably making a trip to the grocery store every single day to pick up last minute forgotten items.
- It’s taking time to call your friends and relatives to wish them a happy holiday season and thank them for gifts galore.
- It’s weeding through your children’s toys/clothes to decide which items could use a new home to make room for the new treasures.
- It’s racking your brain to devise activities each and every day that will distract your children from begging to watch the television all day long.
- It’s figuring out how to keep your house in order in between all of the play dates, parties, and rainy day crafts.
- It’s pretending that having your husband around 24/7 is pleasant and joyous, not annoying and suffocating. Haha! Just kidding babe, I love you…even when you have a bad attitude about going to the beach with us. Wink, wink.
See, that’s what I’m talking about. STRESSFUL!
Aside from all the minor stresses of the holidays, we had one of the most enjoyable holiday seasons we can remember these past few months. Of course we missed our family during Thanksgiving and Christmas break (it was the first holiday season we spent without family in our entire marriage), but we relished every minute of our own little family time. We also had some pretty exceptional friends (both visiting from the mainland and living here) that made us feel loved and right at home on this far away island.
Not only did our friends make this season fabulous, but we also had some fantastic food that brought us even closer together. Funny how food does that.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we were able to partake of loads and loads of flavorful appetizers, main dishes, desserts, homemade goodies, etc. that represented the love and sacrifice others feel for you. I mean, making batches and batches of cookie dough with 4 children at home AND finding time to deliver said cookie dough to dozens of families with a cute little note is sacrifice in my book. And that’s only an example of one of my friends that brought me some Christmas cheer.
I’m telling you, food is definitely a love language. There’s absolutely no denying it. There’s even a genre of food dedicated to how it makes you feel.
Who doesn’t love comfort food??? Comfort food is about even more than just the taste of something. It’s the smell, the ambiance, the look, the memories associated with the food. Comfort food brings comfort because it transports you out of your reality and into a world of cozy. That’s why we all love it.
I’ve come to realize that one of my favorite types of comfort foods, especially after a chilly day in the ocean, is a bowlful of warm soup. I don’t care whether it is a creamy chowder, a chunky chili, or a brothy vegetable soup; it warms you all the same.
One soup I am especially excited to make in these next few weeks, seeing as how I now have a leftover ham bone in my freezer from Christmas, is this Gluten Free Baked Potato Ham Bone Soup. It’s oh so creamy and full of ham and bacon goodness along with lots of hearty potatoes and veggies. It’s all you could ask for in a baked potato soup.
As if ham isn’t enough, this soup also highlights a handful of fresh cut bacon cooked to a crispy perfection. And after cooking the bacon, you use all that yummy and flavorful bacon fat to saute up your veggies. It makes all the difference people. Let’s face it, the poor little piggy in this soup sure did make it to the market, but then obviously came home with me. Oops, what can I say???
The diced celery, onions, and carrots make for a lovely veggie base in this soup. They’re pretty much the perfect veggie base for any soup. You really can’t go wrong with this 3 veggie combo. And a quick tip here: I always use all parts of the celery stalk when cooking, except for the butt end of the stalk. I like to use the heart of the celery for snacking on during the week, but all other parts of the stalk I save for cooking. It saves a lot of money and gives extra flavor to your cooking.
I like using russet potatoes for this soup because they have an earthier flavor and their texture holds up a little better when cooked as opposed to a red potato or new potato. Plus to me, a true “baked potato” must always be a russet potato. That’s just how it is and that’s what I like.
The white rice flour works great as a thickening agent in this soup. It doesn’t turn out gummy or slimy or any other kind of weird texture. It comes out perfectly smooth and velvety just like a chowder should be.
Aside from using two separate pots to make the soup (one for boiling the ham bone and later making the roux and one for cooking the veggies and finishing off the soup), this soup is fairly hassle free. It can also be made a day ahead of time. In fact, most soups taste better the following day, and this recipe is no exception. Make it a day ahead of time and warm it in the crock pot the next day. That’s my kind of meal.
So wrap up your holiday chaos with a warm and comforting bowl of ham bone soup to celebrate all your seasonal successes. I’m pretty sure you deserve it…as well as your family for putting up with you during the holiday havoc. Just keepin’ it real.
How do you prepare your leftover ham bone?
- For the base:
- 1 leftover ham bone
- 3½ cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 pieces thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1½ cups celery stalk chopped (including leaves and tops of celery)*
- 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 small or 1 large)
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 4 medium russet potatoes, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- juice of ½ a lemon
- For the roux:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup white rice flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 1¼ teaspoons dried parsley flakes or 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried mustard
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- dash of cayenne pepper
- Place ham bone in a large pot. Add 3½ cups of water and 2 bay leaves to pot. Bring pot to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until meat is tender on the bone. Remove bone from pot onto a cutting board and allow to cool. Keep water in pot.
- Heat a separate large pot over medium heat.** Once pot is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles, add bacon. Cook bacon for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove bacon onto a paper towel using a slotted spoon so that fat stays in the pot.
- Add diced onion, celery, and carrots to bacon grease. Season with a few shakes of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally over slightly lower than medium heat for 6 minutes.
- Add diced potatoes, minced garlic, and lemon juice and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Pour water from ham bone into pot with veggies. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low boil and cook veggies uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are barely tender.
- While veggies are cooking, begin making roux in pot that had the water.** Melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once melted, add rice flour and whisk vigorously to incorporate. Once mixture forms a paste, slowly add half and half, stirring vigorously to remove clumps. Add parsley, salt, pepper, ground mustard, paprika, and a dash of cayenne. Bring mixture to a boil and whisk until thickened like pudding.
- Pour roux into veggie mixture and stir until incorporated. Bring to a low boil and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until soup has thickened to your liking.
- While soup is simmering, remove meat from ham bone. Discard bone and chop up meat. You should have about 1½ cups. Add chopped ham to soup while still simmering.
- Once ready to serve, top warm soup with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, your cooked bacon pieces, and any other desired toppings.
**If you do not have two large pots, just transfer the liquid/water from cooking the ham bone into a large mixing bowl and save it for later. Then cook your bacon and veggies in the same pot that had the ham bone. Use a smaller pot to then make your roux.