Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Eat Groceries - More Meat : Hamming It Up

Here's another older article from past newsletters, but it too just fits right in with our current series so I thought I'd post it for you to read my ideas of using up Ham.  Though we no longer eat pork, I cannot deny that they are a bargain, especially this time of year, and boy can a ham stretch your food dollars by morphing into several other meals.
Kitchen Basics

Hams are often value priced this time of year. It isn't necessary to
buy a whole ham, but they can be a great purchase if you have
freezer room. Should you choose to buy the whole ham, have the
butcher cut out the center portion for a nice thick ham steak. I
like my ham steak to be really thick, a good two inches. You might prefer
to have yours sliced thinner(1/4-/1/2 inch for pan frying and you
should get 2-4 slices). Then you will have the slice(s), a butt
portion(not as large a bone in this portion) and a shank end. You
will of course, get more than one meal off each portion of the ham.

As a rule, I generally buy only the shank portion because it is the least
expensive.  The butt portion is meatier as said and usually is only
about 10 cents a pound higher in cost. 

I prepare my ham by removing the rind on the outside(the tough skin)
and exposing the soft fat underneath. This will also reduce the
overall saltiness of the ham. Then I place the ham in a foil lined
pan at 325°F and bake it for 20 minutes per pound. I have also
cooked smaller butt portions in the Crock pot on low for 8-10 hours with
great success. It has more a taste of boiled ham, but is delicious
and moist and will literally fall off the bone.

Now the ham portion is cooked, what to do with it? I don't usually
glaze my ham, because I do want to have planned overs, or
leftovers , and I don't want the flavor of the glaze to be
noticeable in other dishes.

Ham is wonderful to use in twice baked potatoes. This is one of my
family's favorite meals and has the further bonus of being a very
frugal dish. I need add only salad and a fruit dessert to complete
the meal. Potatoes Au gratin with a thin layer of ham between the
potatoes and onions and cheese is tops, too.

Mama makes a ham pot pie that is out of this world. She cooks
celery, carrots, onions, and potatoes together, adds chopped ham,
and tops with a cheese pastry. Another good recipe is ham and
steamed broccoli in a light lemon sauce, with pie crust latticed
across the top.

Yet another version of a ham pie, and one of my
favorites, is a Cornbread dish called Southern Spoonbread Supper.
Ham and green onion are lightly sauteed, then placed on the bottom
of a baking dish. Top with two packages of corn-muffin mix, mixed
according to directions and bake. Serve with a cheese sauce or with
thinned mushroom soup. I like to add asparagus as a side dish.

Of course, there should be enough meat for sandwiches.  The marinated
sandwich my family loves is one good use.  Don't forget that ham salad
may also be made to use as sandwich filling.

Don't forget those ham bones. They have far more meat on them than
you may realize. I boil these along with dried limas or black beans
to make soup. If using the limas, I add garlic, onion and
tomatoes. If making black beans, I cook the beans with the ham
bone, then remove about 2 cups of the black beans before proceeding
with my favorite black bean soup recipe. Those 2 cups of beans that
I set aside may be served over rice for a meal, or used in black
bean burritos.

Most good cookbooks will have a listing of recipes that might
contain cubed cooked ham. Other ideas I've seen are a ham loaf(made
with ground cooked ham, breadcrumbs, and spices), frittatas, or even
simple homemade macaroni and cheese with ham added.
When hams are value priced it's a great opportunity to stock up on a
meat that is as versatile as ground beef.


Michele said...

Thank you. As always you are a wealth of knowledge. I would like to know if I could use your Wednesday Coffee Chat I on my blog? I enjoy reading yours so much and would like to include something like it. I could even link mine to yours (which I would enjoy even more) Please let me know if this is ok.

Meg in Kansas said...

I think of you daily when I go to visit our Granny or my husband's mother (she always refused to be referred to as my mother-in-law). She is in a Alzheimer's unit locally and I miss her tremendously. Her body is still with us but her mind is somewhere else. I understand your pain and how you can miss someone so much. On a happier note, I have been reading through your wonderful March archives and you mention Rhonda and I assume, her blog several times. If she is still blogging could you share the name of her blog? Thanks for all the time you devote to us. I appreciate it very much. You are a bright spot in my day always.