leftover country ham
Once you go through all the premium slicing zone of a country ham there's still one heck of a lot of meat on there. This is great for pea soup but it's not really pea soup season here in Dallas and I need to use up this ham.
Scalloped potatoes with ham is a superb dish but it doesn't really use much ham. Also my three-year old doesn't think much of potatoes unless they're French-fried.
I think that a huge pot of beans is in order but I don't cook beans often, as I have become addicted to Ranch Style Beans. I'm looking for a dish that's delicious but not too exotic. I am considering black beans but I'd really like to do something more down-home. Dried limas are another option but they are so strong-tasting that I am afraid I'll be the only one in the house who likes them. That would be a lot of beans to eat. I thought of ham loaf but the recipe looks pretty dull.
help! Any suggestions?
Well I made deviled ham per Mrs. Smith's excellent recipe below. It is very good, much more subtle than I would have expected. I think I might try to mix some fat in with the ham when I grind it next time, but it's tough to argue with this recipe.
I also made a big pot of blackeyed peas with collard greens, using the ham hock for flavoring. The recipe is from the Joy of Cooking. As a result, I have three cups of delicious broth left over. I'm thinking of a risotto or minestrone to use up the broth.
Meanwhile I still have the main bone and a big ol chunk of meat left. I thought of ham and rice croquettes but I don't know about deep-frying them. I might try to fry them as I do chicken, covered, in about 3/4" of fat, then turned and finished uncovered.
And yes, flavrmeister, there really is such a thing as leftover ham. The Joy of Cooking quotes "some wag" as having defined eternity as "two people and a ham," and if you don't believe it you should come to my house. And while I agree that bean soup at large does not really demand a season, there's something about hundred-degree weather with high humidity and lots of smog that does not holler, "Hey clark make an enormous batch of pea soup!"
Thin slices in fetuccine alfredo w/fresh peas
Thin slices w/ripe musk melon
Chunks in baked mac n' cheese
Fried ham and redeye gravy w/pepper biscuits, eggs and fresh asparagus
Potato pancakes w/ a big chunk o' ham in the middle of each
.is there really such a thing as leftover ham? Does bean soup really demand a season?
Oh, John, you have a prime opportunity to make some really extraordinary deviled ham spread! If you like deviled ham at all, this is fine fine time to make your own.
I'd freeze the rest of the ham, whatever you're not going to use immediately. Wrap it well and use it within a few months, but it will work great in soups and stews and beans, etc.
For deviled ham, there are actually few recipes on the web. I googled a few to compare them with my home-grown recipe, and they agree on a few points.
You need a dairy moistener: (cream, sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise)
Most involve pickle relish or cut up pickles
Cayenne and hotsauce to taste.
I'll tell you my favorite deviled ham recipe. I'd make several batches with different proportions to see how you liek it best. I personally like my deviled ham spread very smooth and paste-like.
I take the amount of ham I'm going to use (varies -- but if you use more than a pound you'll need some friends to help you finish it, since it should only sit in the fridge 2 maybe three days tops), and I grind it, 2-3 times. You can use a manual grinder or an electric one (like the attachment to the kitchen aid). Grind it pretty darn finely. If you don't have a grinder, dice the ham up and put into a food processor with the metal blade. This will be a less uniform consistency, but will still work fine.
Place ground ham in a bowl, and start dripping in some heavy or light cream, which ever is more to your tastes. I usually stop around 3 tablespoons, but it's going to depend on how dry (or countrified!) your ham really is. Really dry, well-cured ham will absorb more cream. You want things moist, but not yet totally bound.
Start adding your pickle relish or finely minced pickles to taste. I skip this step entirely, since i like my pickle along side my sandwich, not in it. It is, however, traditional, and most people like it. This now makes it ham "salad".
If you really like mayo and ham, use that instead of cream. I think it overpowers the ham, whereas the liquid (not sour) cream lets the flavor of the ham really shine. My mother loves sour cream in her deviled ham -- it's better than mayonnaise in my opinion. But try the cream option first and see how you like it.
When the ham, cream, and (optional) pickle relish/minced pickles are well-mixed, start added fresh breadcrumbs. If you don't have truly fresh (as in, ground down from actual bread, not bought in a cannister at the store) bread crumbs, use finely crushed saltine crackers. Sparingly. Mix in until everything is still pretty dry. This is a matter of taste -- this extender should pretty much dissapear into your ham spread.
When it is well-mixed, this is when you taste and season. I personally like cayenne pepper the best, but your favorite hot sauce will work well here. Also, this is a point where many people add very finely minced green onion, and perhaps a bit of mustard. I find these distracting, but they won't ruin your deviled ham if you fancy them.
After you've seasoned it with pepper or hot sauce, this is when you bring back the cream or sour cream, and start adding it, in small amounts, until it is the consistency you want.
Serve on saltine crackers with beer, or alongside sardines with either crackers or rye bread to spread it on. Make it into a sandwich with lettuce (tomato clashes unless it's a super-sweet summer tomato, which you may have access to in Dallas right now). Toasted bread seems to lend itself well to this -- also spreading on a toasted bagel half -- which I know must sound shocking to those who keep kosher! The chewy bagel just seems a good vehicle for this spicy, salty spread.
I envy you your country ham. I'm so hungry for deviled ham now! Let me know if you, or anyone else tries this, and if you have more questions. Sorry for the lack of measurements -- this is one recipe you really have to "feel" your way through.
what about bean cakes? I make black bean cakes w/ chunks of ham & onion, &c or black eyed pea cakes (same idea). They freeze relatively well.
Another thought, and along the soup route, would be a seafood chowder w/ chunks of ham for some pork flavor or a corn bisque w/ ham.
What about "devilling" it for a ham salad or as a base for a stuffing for chicken or pork roulades, devilled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, &c.