Ham, Barley and Vegetable Soup

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While we didn’t have a big family get-together this year for Easter, I still bought a ham. I mean, we don’t eat ham but once or twice a year, and so I wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity for some relatively inexpensive, yet delicious food! I found the smallest spiral-sliced ham I could, and prepared it for dinner. Of course, my husband was excited that we had a bunch of leftovers (hello, ham sandwiches!). Me? I was most excited about the ham bone.

I’ve made plenty of soups with the ham bone before, such as this chicken and veggie soup. It’s a super-easy way to add a ton of flavor to the broth. Additionally, soup is a great way to get a good amount of vegetables in. This particular soup was born out of the “kitchen sink” style of cooking – I went through the pantry, fridge, and freezer and threw anything that looked tasty or needed to be eaten into the soup!

What resulted was a colorful soup full of different textures and a hearty, smoky flavor, thanks to the ham. It’s filling and nutritious, and definitely fits the “frugal” definition. The best part? My “kitchen sink” approach here means you can customize this soup to whatever you have on hand. Want a different kind of bean? Go for it. Don’t have okra? No problem, just skip it, or add green beans instead. (I just happened to have both of these items in my freezer from last summer!) It’s an “anything goes” type of soup. I personally love the combination of the protein from the ham and peas, plus some starchy carbs from the barley and potato, plus a bunch of different veggies, all thrown in there together. This way, it’s a complete meal in a single bowl. Easy peasy.

I’ll be eating servings of this soup for days as my lunch, and I’ve even stashed some away in the freezer. I’ve got lunches planned AND I used up leftovers. Feeling a bit like a WINNER with this one!

Ham, Barley and Vegetable Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A hearty, easy-to-make soup filled with vegetables and flavored with the smoky deliciousness of ham.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Main Dish, American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (can substitute 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ cup pearled barley
  • 1½ cups frozen or fresh cream or other field peas (can substitute a can of white beans)
  • 1 leftover smoked ham bone, with a good amount of ham remaining on it
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1½ cups sliced fresh okra (can use frozen)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped curly kale
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. In a large soup or stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and sauté until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, tomatoes, chicken stock, barley, and cream peas and stir in. Add the ham bone and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add the potato and okra and simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until the barley and peas are tender.
  3. With a pair of tongs, remove the ham bone and allow to cool enough to touch. Pull any meat off of the bone and chop into bite-sized pieces. (I had almost 2 cups of ham left on my bone) Add the meat back to the soup, as well as the kale, and allow to simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed, stir in the parsley, and serve.

 

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