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What to Have with Ham for Christmas

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Good Morning
I was thinking of the veal loin with fois gras from this month's Bon Appetit for Christmas Dinner but my husband has his sights set on a Ham. Since he just finished renovating our kitchen I want to indulge him. Howver, I think of Ham as a "down home" countrty style meal and would love suggestions for sides to make it a little different and special for Christmas. Thanks so much and Happy Holidays.

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  1. We are having a stuffed ham for Christmas and I'm planning to do both sweet potato and regular biscuits, which I think will be pretty (and maybe a couple kinds of butter). Not sure what else at the moment- am planning the menu with my mom. But I will post back when I know for sure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Procrastibaker

      Is the sweet and sour red cabbage a hot side dish? I found a recipe with butter (to sautee the cabbage), sugar and balsamic vinegar. Is that your recipe? Can you share it? Thanks.

    2. One of my favorite sides for ham (yes, I live with a devoted ham eater) is sweet-and-sour red cabbage. Easy and inexpensive to make, it's a nice foil for the ham's saltiness. The color looks great too, as far as holiday table aesthetics go.

      A baked puree of potatoes with carrots is also nice - again, that salty-sweet interplay. Plus, it's another veg. to counteract all the meat.

      Finally, we always have a cucumber and onion salad - sort of a quick pickle, sans the high salt - with the Christmas ham. There are so many variations to choose from - Google and see what you can find. It's a lovely freshness against the heavy, warm dishes

      1. While growing up my mother would always make scallop potatoes to go along with the ham, which I still love to this day. But maybe you could do, a playoff on that old classic and upgrade it a bit. I did a tasting not too long ago for an event, and this was offered with actually salmon and filet mignon. It was incrediby delicious.

        A large whole Idaho baking potato peeled and simmered in chicken broth, then when it almost cooked, remove from broth to cool for handling, and slice but not all the way through. In between each slice a good slathering and mix of gruyere, garlic and chive, and o procuitto. then back into the oven to finish it off. Very classy. I almost orgot what else was on the plate, it was sheer heaven for me as a potato lover.....

        4 Replies
        1. re: chef chicklet

          Scalloped potatoes is a great idea-- my dad will be in heaven. Thanks for reminding me of them!

          1. re: Procrastibaker

            I agree, I always like to have scalloped potates with ham, kinda just goes together...like peas and carrots....LOL

            1. re: Procrastibaker

              A girlfriend of mine's mother, used to make a scallop potato dish she called "potatoes delicious" it had cheddar, cream cheese, sour cream and some other cheese with onions thrown in there too. When I tried to make it it curdled, so I would imagine that my oven was too hot, or I should of made the cheese sauce on top of the stove first and precooked the potatoes. My goodness though, hers were absolutely the best thing ever... Thanks really for your topic, it has brought back a ton of memories for me...

              1. re: chef chicklet

                If you will use heavy cream and not milk or half and half in the potatoes it will not curdle. Got to make some of them soon.

          2. I actually like a cranberry compote with ham - mine has finely minced white onion and jalapeno pepper and orange zest mixed into cooled whole berry sauce made from the directions on the cranberry bag. I also like a version of pommes anna, just potatoes and butter, nice and earthy next to the ham.

            1. I would agree with everyone here so far: with ham, potatoes are a must. Any gratin recipe is great...we love Epi's potato gratin with sharp white cheddar...another very good side that is quite pedestrian and lowly is the hash brown casserole. I'd never had it before until a few years ago when we had our office Holiday party at someone's house, the main was a beautiful country ham and someone brought that casserole; it just went hand-in-hand. Of course, in addition to the ham and potatoes, maybe a green of some kind or even roasted carrots.

              1. stuffed mushrooms and a nice cobb salad

                1. I agree with the potato gratin recommendations and will add one of my favorites, a "two-potato gratin", which includes both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes w/gruyere, rosemary (and I add garlic). Nice color and flavor. Although I don't follow the original recipe (I always bake it), here it is: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                  Other potatoes options are twice-baked potatoes (so many filling options) or wasabi-mashed potatoes.

                  I like collard greens and biscuits with ham... but that is moving you further towards a rustic meal, and it sounds like you want to go fancier. Perhaps roasted aspargus, a potato gratin and a fruit chutney or relish would be more elegant. There is a cherry-pecan relish on epi that sounds good!

                  1. This past Thanksgiving, we brined 2 turkeys and bbq'd a ham- and the best bite of my meal, hands down- was a thick bite of ham with a smidge of dijon- with a big smidge of oyster stuffing (perfect with a fried onion crust). The stuffing itself was the consistencey of tapioca- the highlight of my holiday!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JalamaMama

                      Would you please share the oyster stuffing with fried onion crust recipe? Sounds very intersting.

                    2. I like some sort of greens, like chard or kale, with ham.

                      Here are some recipe suggestions:

                      Chard with Yellow Raisins and Pine Nuts

                      Sautéed Swiss Chard

                      Gratin of Chard

                      Braised Red Chard with Sherry Vinegar

                      Garlicky Braised Kale with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Nancy Berry

                        Thanks, lots of these are definate possibilties. We love Swiss Chard.

                      2. Give me a day or two to get the recipe for the oyster stuffing- its my sister in laws- brother in laws recipe- delicious. Delicious.

                        1. A good mac and cheese, scalloped potatoes as others have mentioned. Or a Potato Anna, alternating white and sweet for color contrast.

                          1. I love the combo of sauted sweet potato and butternut squash together. Saute in unsalted butter and olive oil then drizzle w/a little maple syrup at the end. Goes great w/salty, smokey ham! (Start w/cubed potato first, then after it's softened add cubed squash) :)KQ

                            1. I would bake a noodle pudding with plenty of apples, maybe caraway seeds.

                              1. Pineapple stuffing goes wonderfully with ham, and is super easy to make ahead of time. You can find recipes all over the internet.

                                1. I'd go with some kind of scalloped potatoes as others mentioned. It's a nice change from mashed. My mom always did sour cream potatoes topped with cornflakes.

                                  1. You may want to try a savory bread pudding, this one with butternut squash from Food and Wine is fabulous and would be very nice with ham particularly because it will go well with sweet sauces or side dishes. Also think about serving some very simple grilled pineapple as a side dish.

                                    Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

                                    STAFF FAVORITE
                                    ACTIVE TIME: 40 MIN
                                    TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN
                                    SERVES: 12
                                    1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
                                    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
                                    One 1 1/2-pound loaf of sourdough bread, ends trimmed, loaf cut into 1-inch cubes
                                    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
                                    2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, chopped
                                    2 garlic cloves, minced
                                    15 large eggs
                                    3 cups milk
                                    3 cups heavy cream
                                    2 teaspoons chopped thyme
                                    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

                                    Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter a shallow 10-by-15-inch baking dish. Season the squash with salt and pepper and set the halves on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down. Bake the squash for 35 minutes, or until just tender. Let cool slightly, then peel and cut into 1/2-inch dice.
                                    On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toast the bread until dry and just crisp, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
                                    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the leeks and garlic and cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes.
                                    In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in the milk, cream, thyme, nutmeg and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Add the bread cubes and let stand for 15 minutes. Gently fold in the squash and leeks and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, or until browned on top and just set. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
                                    MAKE AHEAD The bread pudding can be prepared earlier in the day and reheated.

                                      1. Not a side but a condiment that is perfect with ham and is so festive this time of year is Cumberland Sauce.


                                        We will probably have ham for New Years day with Hopping John and greens and biscuits if I don't make cornmeal dumplings to cook on top of the greens. Cumberland sauce will be on the table to go with the ham.

                                        1. Marks Oyster Stuffing-

                                          1 pint drained (reserve liquid) oysters
                                          2 c ground and blended saltine/ritz crackers
                                          1/2 cup melted butter
                                          3/4 c sour cream
                                          1/4 c reserved oyster juice
                                          1/4 t worchestershire sauce
                                          1/2 t salt

                                          mix crumbs w/ melted butter and layer in pan with oysters. Save some crumbs for the top.

                                          mix oyster liquid/cream/salt&pepper/worchestershire-pour over mixture, add and bake. 350* for 30 minutes

                                          TO TWEEK RECIPE- add cayenne pepper, add parmesan cheese- use fried onions on top for crisp crunchy crust. I though there were fried onions on top- my mistake- but it sure sounds good!

                                          1. I usually serve with ham this scalloped potatoes with three cheeses from epi. It is absolutley delicious:


                                            1. Corn pudding is delish with ham.

                                              1. To go with your ham...
                                                Grilled fresh pineapple with a pom glaze
                                                Asparagus salad in a lemon dressing
                                                Popovers with fresh rosemary and pear bits

                                                scalloped potaotes or risotto sounds great

                                                How do you plan to prepare the ham? dry rub, glaze?

                                                1. When we have ham at Easter my mom always makes a creamy potato salad to go alongside. That might be too "warm weather" for Christmas, so I'm going to agree with the majority and say a nice potato gratin would be a great pairing.

                                                  1. For something simple, try roasting some kebocha squash. One of my favorite sides for ham!

                                                    1. Cherry Brie Salad
                                                      Red Cabbage Salad
                                                      Baked Sweet Potatoes
                                                      Creamed Spinach
                                                      Spiced Oranges