I have 1.5lbs of ham and ham bones - help me use it!
I lost my job a while back and money is finally starting to get tight. Around Thanksgiving I bought a cheap ham to make sandwiches and whatnot with, and vac sealed and froze 1.5lbs of chunks of it and the bone. I've never done split pea soup, and frankly, it looks kinda gross, though I don't remember ever having tasted it. If it matters, one of my biggest "things" is I tend to be sensitive to texture - mushy things are pretty much unpalatable to me.
I'm open to many ideas as long as they're inexpensive. Taking a long time isn't much of an issue, as I'm unemployed, but being flavorful is. What should I make?
Fried rice with ham, onion, and whatnot is inexpensive and easy. It's best done in a wok, but if you don't have one, a skillet will do.
The ham bone goes in bean soup, along with some of the ham, onion, carrot, tomato, etc.
To avoid mushy beans, cook them when you are present, and taste them frequently. Stop when they no longer seem undercooked.
Split pea has a distinctive taste, you might want to try a regular navy bean soup. If you have cornmeal, make up some cornbread for the side.
I usually simmer the bone, making a stock, then clean off any meat I want to use, but usually, the meat is bland after making the stock. I put in some carrots, onion, celery, and a bay leaf.
Then, I take the strained stock, and use that to make the soup.I sometimes use beans soaked and cooked from scratch (very cheap), and sometimes I use canned beans.
If you like baked beans, put it all in a slowcooker with the meat and bone.
If you like potatoes, scalloped potatoes with ham is good. You can use evaporated milk (not the sweet stuff) for the liquid, and that's pretty cheap, too. layer very thinly sliced potatoes, some onion, a sprinkling of flour, pepper, repeat. Then pour the milk over the top and bake.
Using bits of ham is good in fried rice, too.
I love the idea of scalloped potatoes but hubby has little to interest in them, though I may still make them because they're awesome. Good call guys.
Otherwise, I like the idea of using it in the baked beans. That would be awesome.
I may try making navy bean soup though, I've never made it before and I love a challenge.
Roast the bone in the oven until is nice and brown, just be careful not to burn it.
Cut the ham into bite size pieces.
Put the roasted bone in a pot of beef or chicken stock (or water if money is tight) and bring it to a boil.
Add some beans (navy beans, kidney beans, whatever variety you like) and cook slowly with the ham bone until about half done. Add a chopped onion, some garlic, a bay leaf and what ever other spices/herbs you like along with the ham pieces. Cook until the beans are tender.
Serve with corn bread or some other bread that you like.
I understand about the mushy / unpalatable thing but I just made AWESOME black eyed peas w/ the ham bone. Some onion and I didn't have much else except rice. Time it and watch it as another poster suggested. I didn't add salt as I thot the ham was salty enough. I did use a dried chile.
Something else to consider is grilled cheese sandwiches with ham or add it in small slivers to a pizza or I even like it added to a baked potato with cheese as the topping.
Quiche is another favorite. Pie crust is kind of expensive (for me) as I can't make them however consider a crustless quiche.
So sorry about the job lose, been there, done that and the way it looks, I may very well be there again soon. I totally understand.
This LENTIL SOUP WITH HAM from About.com Southern Food is very good:
1 meaty ham bone or 1 lg. ham hock (I used the ham bone)
6 cups of water
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. pepper
1 bay leaf
In stock pot or soup kettle combine all the ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer one hour or until lentils are tender. Take out ham bone and remove meat. Chop meat and return to soup. Remove bay leaf. Serves 6
Ham / Corn Chowder
8 bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional it is garnish)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced celery
3 cups cubed peeled potatoes (about 3 medium)
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups whole milk, divided
4 cups fresh or frozen whole kernel corn, divided
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, optional
In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain, reserving 1/4 cup drippings in pan.
Saute the onion, and celery in drippings for 5 minutes.
Add potatoes and broth.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Place 1/2 cup milk and 2 cups corn in a blender; cover and process until pureed.
Pour into saucepan.
Add ham and remaining corn; simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Stir in the butter, salt, pepper, pepper sauce if desired and remaining milk; heat through. Garnish with bacon (if using).
Yield: 10-12 servings (3 quarts).