Ham and Cabbage Soup is a family favorite that has been passed down through the generations. Turn a leftover meaty hambone into a dish that will have you going back for another bowl.
This post has been updated with new pictures and such.
Whenever I see or smell ham and cabbage soup, I think about a brief moment in time (late 80’s perhaps?) when my parents dove head first into the “Cabbage Soup Diet” phenomenon.
They had successfully kicked the smoking habit and were now determined to lose a few pounds and declare themselves in optimum health and cabbage soup was going to get them there. For the span of what seemed like a forever, there was a bottomless pot of cabbage soup bubbling away on the stove.
The smell permeated everything in the house, including my parents, and I decided then and there that I despised cooked cabbage of any sort. In hindsight, I’m sure that the fad diet didn’t sustain itself for very long in our house since my own father cannot eat the same meal twice in one week much less 3 or 4 times a day, but nevertheless, cooked cabbage did not cross my lips until I was nearly 30.
The catalyst that brought down my loathing of cooked cabbage was my husband’s ham and cabbage soup, a relic of his family that he brought into our marriage along with chicken tortilla casserole and Godfather meatloaf (the meal that stole my heart).
The first time he made this soup I eyed it with suspicion, but it smelled delicious, so I steeled myself…and ate 2 bowls in one sitting.
Fast forward a few years, and I now search for a reason to cook a ham so that we can make a vat of this ham and cabbage soup to sustain us for a good week. Maybe I’ll start my own “diet”, although I will keep the leftovers in the fridge.
Using a frozen leftover ham bone
I will often wrap our leftover holiday ham bone in plastic or aluminum foil and stash it in the freezer until I have time to make this soup. There’s no special thing that you need to do, just plop the frozen bone in the pot and maybe give the soup an extra 15 minutes or so.
Do you HAVE to have a ham bone?
I’m not going to tell you that you absolutely positively HAVE to have a ham bone for this soup – but you should try really hard to get one. You could simply use leftover ham that is in large chunks that you can shred after cooking. The point of the bone is to make an amazing broth. It’s a simple soup – you don’t want to cut too many corners if you can help it.
Can you Freeze Ham and Cabbage Soup?
I do it all the time. Cool the soup completely in the fridge then ladle into freezer safe containers. It should keep for several months.
Click play on the video and let Blaine show you how to make this recipe from start to finish!
- 1 meaty hambone
- 12 cups water
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 whole carrot
- ½ onion
- 2 teaspoons beef base
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoons pepper
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- 1 small head cabbage cored and shredded
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
- In a stock pot, submerge the hambone, celery stalk, whole carrot and half onion in the water. Boil for 30-45 minutes or until the meat begins to easily fall off the hambone. Remove the hambone and vegetables from the broth. Discard veggies and shred the meat from the bone and set aside.
- Stir in the beef base, chili powder and salt and pepper to the ham broth and bring to a simmer. Add the diced onion, shredded carrot, bell pepper, cabbage and potatoes and simmer until the cabbage is tender and the potatoes are cooked through. Stir the shredded ham back into the soup to reheat. Serve and enjoy!
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