Simple recipe for making broth with a pata negra ham bone

Your pata negra ham may have nothing left to give but you can still do things with it, like making a delicious consommé or a flavorful sauce for a meat dish. The bone marrow and the bits of meat you can’t cut off the bone are tasty and nutritious (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and more). Here is how to get it all with very little work and money.

Homemade broth

Homemade broth with pata negra ham bone

Ingredients (for 1 liter of broth):

  • 500 g of Iberico ham bones
  • 2 liters water
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 leek or 1 small onion
  • 1 potato
  • 250 g of squash
  • 1 celery stalk
  • Optional: a little parsley, 2 bay leaves, a piece of turnip, half a cabbage, one pig’s foot and 500 grams of beef, lamb or chicken.
  • DO NOT ADD SALT. The bone contains some salt and it is best to wait until the broth is done before salting to taste.

Preparation:

The ham has several bones and it is best to locate the joints and cut the ligaments with a kitchen knife (photo 1). The biggest pieces can be cut with a saw or a cleaver.

Remove the skin from the pieces and leave a small amount of rancid fat (photo 2).

Cut up the vegetables (photo 3), place everything in a pot with cold water and cook over high heat until it comes to a boil. Then simmer over low heat for 2 to 4 hours (photo 4). The longer you leave it, the stronger it will be. Skim off any scum that forms (photo 5) every 60 minutes to reduce calories.

Finally, strain the broth (photo 6) and leave it to cool a few hours.

When it is at room temperature, put it in the refrigerator. After about 2-3 hours remove it and skim off the fat layer that will have formed on the surface (photo 7) to give a smoother broth that is easier to digest.

Strain it again with a strainer, or with a thin cloth (photo 8) if you like it very clear.

Cutting the ligaments
1. Cut the ligaments to separate the ham bones.
Beef bone and ribs, ham bones and chicken carcass
2. From left to right: beef bone and ribs, ham bones and chicken carcass.
Vegetables for the broth
3. Cut vegetables.
All the ingredients in the pot
4. All the ingredients in the pot.
Broth scum
5. Skim off the scum every hour.
Straining the broth through a strainer
6. Strain the broth and let it cool to make it easier to remove the fat.
Fat that has risen to the broth's surface
7. Remove the fat that has risen to the surface.
Straining the broth through a thin cloth
8. Strain the broth with a thin cloth to make a very clear soup.

Extra:

If you want a broth with more body, blend it with a beater for 2 minutes.

If you want less fat, add a beaten egg white to the broth about 15 minutes before removing it from the heat.

Add a handful of chickpeas, pasta or rice together with the bones and vegetables to get a smoother texture.

 

Brown stock (for meat stew and sauces)

Brown stock

Ingredients:

The same as for consommé, plus:

  • 1 tomato
  • 200 ml red wine

Preparation:

Prepare exactly the same as the consommé but cook the ingredients (except the wine) in the oven before boiling. This will give a darker color and a slightly roasted flavor.

Place the cut bones in the oven at 180ºC and add the vegetables after 30 minutes. Remove the pan after another 15 minutes and place everything in a pot with cold water and wine.

 

Ham and Hypertension: 6 Tricks to Not Have to Say Goodbye to Pata Negra Ham

The first result you get when you ask Google how to prevent high blood pressure is “To help manage your blood pressure, you should limit the amount of sodium (salt) that you eat”. Does this mean that we have to cut out ham from our diet once we reach a certain age? The answer depends on the individual (or on the attention you pay to your doctor), but here are a few tricks worth trying before cutting it out for health reasons (hear, hear).

1. Eat less

As an adult, ham is a luxury, like chocolate, for example. In other words, it does not provide any essential nutrients or ones that cannot be obtained from other, less salty, foods. It gives us pleasure, which is no small thing, but we can completely do without it. Therefore, the first thing you can do is eat less of it. As discussed in a previous article, experts recommend eating cured ham no more than 2 or 3 times a week.

You can buy sliced ham or shoulder in 100 g packages, which makes it easier to practice portion control than having the whole ham in the kitchen, which seems like it’s telling you, “Come on, cut and serve yourself a little ham, I’m just sitting here”.

2. Switch to bellota ham

You can take what you save by eating less and use it to buy higher-quality ham. Bellota ham has less salt and healthier fat than serrano ham, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

3. Cut back on salt in other foods

One idea I got from my parents is that on the day they have ham, they add less or no salt to other parts of the meal such as salad, fish, soup, etc. This way, they don’t exceed the recommended amount for that day.

Just like when you have lentils for the first course, you eat something low in protein for the second course, you can choose foods that have less salt and fat. Fortunately, all the packages now list the percentage of sodium per 100 grams.

4. Eat it with foods rich in potassium

This mineral counteracts some of the harmful effects of salt on blood pressure and is present in citrus (oranges), grapes, carrots, potatoes, spinach, etc.

5. Don’t smoke and drink less alcohol and coffee

Ham pairs perfectly with drinks such as beer. Beer has a much lower alcohol content than wine, which is what typically accompanies Iberian Jamon Pata Negra.

Tobacco and coffee, besides potentially causing sudden increases in blood pressure, are natural enemies of ham: They overpower its flavor and aroma.

6. Exercise

Let ham be the prize for that time spent at the gym or that walk through the park that is slightly longer than usual. Both your arteries and your taste buds will thank you.

On the other hand, the demonization of salt as it relates to hypertension has often been questioned in recent years. It seems that “if you have hypertension, moderate your salt intake” is a very simplistic view and that the reality is much more complex, as explained in detail in this article (in Spanish) and in another article of The Guardian.

In all seriousness, it’s worth taking note of this advice and keep enjoying pata negra ham, which has many benefits for your mind and body. It is a source of happiness and especially during the holidays, a big part of our culture.