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This surprisingly savory and delicious soup can be seasoned with cayenne pepper or herbs to taste,  but is excellent plain as well.  It's a really delicious way to put more carrots and other goodies into the diet.

Redbone Soup

1 ham bone with some meat, or 1 ham hock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil  (Note)
6 to 8 ounces lean ham
1 medium onion
2 large stalks of celery
1 small bell pepper, ripe (generously streaked with yellow and red)
       or 1 small yellow or red bell pepper
4 medium-large carrots
2 very ripe medium tomatoes
2 cups defatted chicken broth
2 medium potatoes
1 small zucchini (optional)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
salt and black pepper to taste, if desired

Put ham hock or ham bone in 2 cups of water or enough water to cover; add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. (Note #2) Either pressure cook for 35 minutes or simmer for two hours.  Remove bones, skin, fat and gristle.   Skim any floating fat from the broth. 

The vegetables and ham should be cut into a small dice, about 3/8" to 1/2" cubes.  (The smaller the children or the pickier the eaters, the smaller the cubes should be.)   Dice the meat and add to broth.

Heat olive oil in a heavy soup pot.  Sauté diced ham and vegetables until onion becomes transparent. 

Scrape, trim and dice carrots.  Add to pot.  Sauté and stir for 5 minutes.   Add diced tomatoes and continue to sauté another 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add ham broth and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  If you wish to add any other herbs or other seasonings, do it now.  Simmer until carrots are tender. 

Add diced potatoes and zucchini, plus the minced garlic.  Simmer until potato cubes are tender.  Taste and correct for salt and black pepper if desired. 

Serve with crusty bread or croutons.   

Note:   While you can make this soup nearly fat free, we don't suggest it.   In any case, the oil helps you utilize the antioxidants in the carrots, garlic and other veggies. 

Note #2:  Incidentally, adding the lemon juice at the beginning helps leach calcium out of the bones and into the broth.  If the tomatoes are very acid, you may need to add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  Enjoy!

The Sneaky Kitchen
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