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Side dishes for Christmas Ham?

Having chosen and ordered a "City Ham" for Christmas Day with the help of several CHers,

in case anyone is interested: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/672235

I have now turned my attention toward side dishes. We will be having hors d'oeuvres as well as a soup course and plenty of dessert, so I am thinking that three side dishes will be sufficient. I have my heart set on making a sweet potato gratin, and would love some recipes/tips. I had found a recipe (link follows) that I liked which called for both yukon and sweet potatoes, and am wondering how/if to adjust the cooking time and liquid amounts were I to use sweet potato only?


I think I will make a roasted onion relish-possibly shallots in balsamic or port- and am at a loss for the third side. Any suggestions?
Thanks :)

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  1. While I think the gratin recipe is great I wonder about gruyere with straight sweet potatoes, or any cheese with sweet potatoes, for that matter. I think I'd do the original recipe with both potatoes, it's different and sounds extra special.
    I also like the roasted shallots in balsamic with a touch of port.
    You need something green, what's fresh right now where you live? Since you have a glazed ham, a rich potato dish and a sumptuous relish, you really only need a nice simple green vegetable that you can blanch beforehand and saute to reheat right before your meal. It looks like, from your profile, you're in the tri-state area and we have beautiful broccoli available right now. Blanch your broccoli and jazz it up with a little lemon zest, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, olive oil (to saute) and a bit of lemon juice to coat right before serving.
    Just food for thought...

    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Yeah, I had the same feeling about the "gruyere with straight sweet potatoes" thing, myself.

    2. I think grilled asparagus would be very nice with your meu.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Analisas mom

        I agree, grilled asparagus.
        But to add a little wow factor to them, try adding Moody Blue smoked blue cheese.
        Just a little sliver to two will make for an incredible dish.
        It has the taste of smoky bacon.

        1. re: pacheeseguy

          smoked blue cheese? where can i find this wonderful sounding cheese? It sounds amazing with the asparagus....

          1. re: kubasd

            Any decent sized quality super grocery store should have this.
            As would your local cheese shop. It's from Roth kase cheeses.
            We sampled it in our store melted into mashed potatoes. Divine, truly divine.


        2. re: Analisas mom

          Asparagus is not in season in the winter. I think Brussels sprouts or Russian Kale would be a much more seasonal and flavorful vegetable.

        3. Your ham and other side dishes are rich so a nice contrast would be some kind of salad with fruit---I would have an apple salad since my family adores it---or you might have something green---mesclun with fresh blueberries or grapefruit segments and a raspberry vinaigrette?

          1. The other night I made a potato and parsnip gratin, which would be wonderful with ham. You could easily add parsnip to your sweet potato plan to add another color and texture element.

            4 Replies
            1. re: CookieGal

              I like this idea- maybe for a more delicate gratin, with less cheese and more cream...

              1. re: vvvindaloo

                FWIW, since "gratin" is a French word, and that is where the dish originated, you might be interested to know that most French gratins contain little or no cheese at all. As well, their baked macaroni dishes don't usually contain cheese. They're basted with juices from the meat they're to accompany and topped with seasoned crumbs.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  Thanks, chefJ. I did not know about the basting part. Of course, some type of crumbs are essential!

              2. re: CookieGal

                I've made potato and parsnip gratin to accompany ham before - I think with the addition of porcini mushrooms, which worked well.

              3. Or green beans with almonds.

                1. I make a ham every Boxing Day. This year my sides will be sweet potato gratin from Ottolenghi, braised red cabbage and probably some kind of green vegetable- probably broccoli.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: greedygirl

                    gg: That sweet potato gratin from Ottolenghi is beyond delicious. I actually made it last week and posted about it. I didn't even use cream, but mixed some half and half with 1% milk. Turned out very well. I think it'd be perfect with ham.

                    It's really good because it doesn't have marshmallows or other sweeteners, allowing the sweetness of the spuds to come through. It's also very easy to put together.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      try the sweet potatoe with I belive it was swiss chard recipe from smitten ktchen.... ridiculous!!!

                    2. re: greedygirl

                      gg, Can you post the recipe, link or a a paraphrased version of the Ottolenghi sweet potato gratin? I just got some nice looking sweets and mabe will make this for Christmas. Thanks so much.

                      Edit: I found it on the web, thanks anyway!

                      1. re: bushwickgirl


                        Just found out that Ottolenghi was the subject of August's COTM. Oakjoan reports on a sweet potato gratin recipe at the very end of this thread.

                      2. re: greedygirl

                        ditto what bushwickgirl said!

                        EDIT: I think I found it, and posted it above. thanks.

                      3. How about a spinach and lima bean puree casserole. This is from Elizabeth Schneider's book Ready When You Are. It is two layers, the spinach layer and the lima bean layer and is topped with gruyere cheese on top. The colors are beautiful (the dark green, the light green and the gold cheese.) And it tastes great. I think it would be very pretty with your ham and would complement it.

                        Or how about a corn casserole. There's a recipe that uses canned corn, creamed corn, jiffy corn mix, butter and some sour cream. People love it and I think it would go with the ham very nicely too. I don't make this too often but when I do people scrape the last bit out of the dish. I never admit what's in it though!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: karykat

                          Love the idea of the corn casserole- would you post this recipe? sounds like a great vegetarian option too!

                          1. re: ginnyhw

                            Here's my recipe for Jiffy Corn Pudding-

                            1/2 cup butter, melted
                            2 eggs, beaten
                            1- 16 ozs can whole kernel corn, drained
                            1- 16 oz can cream style corn
                            1 cup sour cream
                            1 8oz box Jiffy corn muffin mix

                            Combine all ingredients together, adding the corn muffin mix last. Pour mixture into a greased 7x11 baking dish. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned and set in the middle.

                            1. re: vafarmwife

                              This is my recipe as well, except that I think it might have more butter, if you can believe that. What I've done is cut the butter to the level here, and used sour lean, or at least part sour lean, to assuage my own conscience about it. And then never NEVER admit what's in it.

                          2. I'm loving these suggestions. Thanks, everybody!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: vvvindaloo

                              It's tradition in our family to serve country ham on angel biscuits, deviled potato salad, broccoli rice casserole, macroni and cheese, shrimp tray, sweet and sour meatballs, cocktail weiners, a cheese ball, and deviled eggs.

                              Forgot to add that we have twice-baked potates and I usually roast some asparagus for something green. Heavy on the starch I know, but we only eat like this on Christmas and Easter.

                            2. We do a baked ham every year for Christmas and love the combination of that with Broccoli Rab sauteed simply with garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. The contrast of sweet and bitter, salty and spicy is a really good one

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                that broccoli rabe recipe is one of my favorite dishes in the world...

                                1. re: kubasd

                                  isn't it fantastic?? I hated it when I was a kid but my mom persevered and I 100% love it now! Delicious

                              2. my all time favorite side with sweet potato has to be this scalloped sweet potato with lemon,cream, ginger:

                                I would suggest this phenominal gratin of 4 onions but that might be too rich (it is to die for though):

                                I love the grilled asparagus too.

                                what about a nice savory bread pudding - love this one by ch but you could change it up a bit to compliment the ham:

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lexpatti

                                  That 4-onion gratin recipe sounds divine.

                                2. Because I hail from the UK, I would be TRAGICISED if I was presented with ham without Parsley Sauce! It is the perfect complement, and also goes fantastically well with all forms of potato/sweet potato side.

                                  Your gratin sounds totally yummy, I am extremely jealous of your dining companions.

                                  1. I'm going with Ottolenghi's sweet potato gratin and roasted baby brussels sprouts. Some sort of winter salad and slightly sweet poppy rolls. I still have to decide on a glaze for the ham. We like it nice and sweet, and I think there will have to be pineapple involved...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: vvvindaloo

                                      I recently did a nice winter panzanella salad with roasted butternut squash, blanched brussels sprouts (although I don't see why not roasted), red onion, lots of fresh parm and ciabatta bread (stale). Dressing was sherry vinegar/olive oil - although I still love lemon juice for my acid. Entertaining Michael did it on a show recently