Potlikker Soup

Ham and homemade stock give this soup a great flavor, pasta adds heartiness and collard greens, vinegar and hot sauce complete that Southern potlikker flavor!


What is Potlikker?

By definition, it is the juices left over from making collard greens and it is supposed to be very good for you

That being said there are a lot of applications to use these great flavors

We have adapted this to a ham based soup that is so delicious we like to call it a “Pot Licker”

My daughter claims it is her favorite soup (I like hearing that)

This is also a great recipe for utilizing a leftover ham shank

Note:  Southern collard greens are often served with ham hocks to impart the smoky flavor and meatiness

So we had ham and now we have ham shank

Time for a transformation!


There always seems to be left over ham after a Holiday meal or Sunday dinner

Now I know what your thinking… What am I going to do with this?

What we are going to do is transform this into a completely new and amazing meal!

There is a lot of meat clinging to this shank and to me, a bone with any meat on it spells stock

We will need 2 carrots, 1 onion and 1 celery stalk along with the leftover ham shank


Give everyone a rough chop

No need to peel these as they’re are just to flavor the stock and will be discarded

By the way, you can make this stock a day ahead to make life easier


Add the ham bone and veggies into a large pot


Next up, we will need 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of hot sauce, 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns, 2 garlic cloves and 3 bay leaves


Smash the garlic and add it to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients


You basically want to cover as much of the ham as you can with water

The amount of water will change depending on the size of the ham

We used 16 cups of water for this


Cover and bring to a rapid boil over medium heat

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours or until the liquid is reduced by half


Strain the pot reserving the ham and stock

Discard everything else


We ended up with 8 cups of this beautiful and flavorful stock!


Pick off all of the ham and discard any fat and bones


The meat closest to the bone becomes so tender and delicious you are going to love it

Set the ham aside


Now it is time to make some Potlikker!

We are serving this Potlikker soup over pasta, so cook up a pound of your favorite, according to the directions, drain and set aside

We are going to start with some similar ingredients for the soup as we did for the stock

We will need 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 4 slices of bacon and 2 teaspoons each of kosher salt and ground black pepper


Peel and chop the onion and garlic and chop up the bacon


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat

Add in the bacon


Render the bacon down 4-6 minutes until nice and browned


Next add in the onions, garlic and salt and pepper


Sweat these down 6-8 minutes stirring occasionally


Now this is a Southern inspired dish and if we are talking Southern we will need some greens

And when I think of Southern greens I think collard greens!

Here we have 1 bunch


You want to soak these in some cold water and give them a good rinse to remove any dirt or grit


Pat the leaves dry, flip them over so you are at the back and remove the stem by cutting a v pattern on both sides

Once the stems are removed, stack the leaves and cut down the center

Then chop along the length


Repeat until they are all chopped


Add the ham back into the pot with the onion and bacon and stir to combine


Add in the collard greens and stir to combine


Add in the reserved stock

Cover and bring to a rapid boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 20-25 minutes


Looking good!


We like to stir in 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar at the end

The acid really compliments the richness of the broth


Put a scoop or 2 of your favorite pasta in a bowl and ladle Potlikker over it

Deliciously comforting!

We serve this with a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and shredded parmesan cheese!



Simply Sundays! ~ Potlikker Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print


For the Stock

1 leftover ham bone with meat

1 onion

2 carrots

1 celery stalk

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of hot sauce

2 teaspoon of black peppercorns

2 garlic cloves

3 dry bay leaves

16 cups of water

For the soup

reserved stock( around 8 cup)

reserved ham

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion

4 slices of bacon

2 garlic cloves

1 bunch of collard greens, cleaned, stem removed and chopped

1 teaspoons of kosher salt

1 teaspoons of ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar (optional)

crushed red pepper (optional)

shredded parmesan (optional)

1 pound box of your favorite pasta (cooked and drained)


For the stock

Add the leftover ham bone to a large pot.  Add in 2 chopped carrots, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 chopped onion, 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of hot sauce, 2 teaspoon of black peppercorns, 3 dry bay leaves and 16 cups of water

Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours

Remove from heat and strain, reserving the stock and ham.  Pick meat from bones and reserve.  Discard the bones and veggies

Cook 1 pound of your favorite pasta according to the directions.  Drain and set aside

For the soup

Chop 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves and 4 slices of bacon.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot.  Brown the bacon for 4-6 minutes.  Add in the onions and garlic, sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper.  Sweat them down for 6-8 minutes. Add the ham back in and stir to mix

Soak and rinse 1 bunch of collard greens in cold water to remove any excess dirt or grit   Cut out and discard the main stem.  Layer the leaves on top of each other and cut down the center.  Then chop along the length

Add collard greens to the pot along with the reserved stock.  Cover and bring to a boil Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 20-25 minutes.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

Place 1 -2 scoops of pasta in a bowl.  Ladle Potlikker over the noodles.  Sprinkle with crushed red pepper (optional) and shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Tools used to make this recipe

ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife 8 inch

Architec Carving Board, Gripperwood

Pyrex Mixing Bowl

Wilton 3 Piece Cookie Sheet Set

Anchor Hocking 8 Cup Measuring Cup Glass Batter Bowl with Spout

Mini Prep Glass Bowl

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