Ham Tetrazzini

[Ham Tetrazzini]We hosted the family Christmas day gathering this year. We provided ham, popovers and egg noodles for my mom’s Swedish meatballs. At the end of the day there was ham and egg noodles leftover. So I took a page from Thanksgiving leftovers and made a tetrazzini type dish.

The butter, milk and cheese make this rich dish. Perfect for the week before New Year’s resolutions have us all eating kale-cauliflower-mango smoothies.

Ham Tetrazzini
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 10 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 sm. onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or just water if you have no broth)
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle
  • 1/2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 3 cups cooked ham, cubed
  • 4 cups cooked egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until most of mushroom liquid has evaporated, 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onions, and cook until the onions begin to soften; another 5 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, to get rid of the taste of raw flour. Add the broth and stir to start the sauce. Allow to cook for about 1 minute and add milk while stirring. Stir in the chipotle, paprika, pepper and vinegar. Adjust the heat for a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  3. Add the ham, noodles and parsley. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes to reheat the ham/noodles.
  4. While the ham/noodles reheat toast the breadcrumbs. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add the breadcrumbs and use a spatula to coat the breadcrumbs in the melted butter. Heat, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are browned to your liking. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  5. To serve spoon up a generous helping in a bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan and toasted breadcrumbs. A few grinds of fresh black pepper never hurt anyone either.

Notes:
I would normally salt the mushrooms and onions while sauteing them as it helps draw out the moisture. That said this is already going to be a salty dish with the broth (unless it is homemade), ham and Parmesan. Leaving the salt out means it’ll take a little longer to cook down the mushrooms and onions. Patience, and temperature control, are your friend.

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Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup

When we enjoy baked ham I typically turn the bone over to my mom who turns it into tasty split pea soup. I figured I’d return the favor this time around, picked up a package of green split peas and followed the basic recipe on the back of the package. I omitted the “ham-flavor seasoning package” included with the dried peas in favor of actual ham.
[Split Pea Soup]
I added the ham in two phases, some while cooking and the bulk after cooking. The pressure cooker will draw every bit of flavor from the ham; the second addition ensures that some of the ham you eat will actually taste as it should.

Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 lg (or 2 sm) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. dried green split peas, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 lbs. cooked ham, cut into 1/2″ pieces, divided
  • 8 cups water or ham stock
  • the bone from a baked ham (optional but so worth it)
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Special equipment:

  • pressure cooker

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium-low heat in the pressure cooker. Add all the fresh veggies, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and stir to coat with oil. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the garlic, stir into the rest of the veggies and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the split peas, 1/2 lb. of ham and the water/stock. Stir once or twice two mix things up. Add the ham bone. Bring to a boil.
  4. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and lock. Bring up to pressure until steam is being released. Lower the heat to maintain pressure; a small hiss of steam should still escape the cooker.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes. Use the quick release to dump the pressure built up in the cooker.
  6. Use tongs to remove the bones from the pot. The bulk of the peas have probably settled on the bottom of the pot. Stir well until your spoon no longer brings up clumps of pea puree. Stir in the remaining ham and allow to sit for 10 minute.
  7. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. I like mine with lots of freshly ground black pepper. A bit of olive oil would be nice too.

Notes:
As an experiment I cooked the ham bone in 16 cups of water on low in my slower cooker for 9 hours while I was at work. It yielded a very weak stock. I used it to make the soup however I’ll probably just use water next time.

This soup will thicken while it sits. When I transferred the leftovers to a container it was basically a blob. Worry not; add a bit of water, reheat and it will be lovely soup again.

Baked Ham

Baked ham can be delicious. Unfortunately it often comes out dry. I came across a technique in Cook’s Illustrated a few years ago and it has held up across multiple testings. It makes use of an oven bag, you should be able to find them with the foils and plastic wrap in your local mega-mart.

Bake Ham
Servings: 12+
Prep time: 90 minutes
Total time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 bone-in ham, preferably shank, 8-10 lbs.

Special Equipment:

  • 1 container large enough to hold the ham (I use a stock pot)
  • 1 large oven bag

Directions:

  1. Place the ham, still wrapped in factory plastic, in the large container of your choice. Fill the container with hot tap water until you cover the ham. Cover and rest for 90 minutes. Drain water and repeat for a second 90 minute cycle.
  2. Set an oven rack in the lowest spot in your oven, removing any other racks. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  3. Drain water, transfer ham to a cutting board and remove the plastic wrapping. Look for, and remove if present, a plastic disk over the bone on the cut end of the ham.
  4. Trim excess fat, leaving an 1/8″ layer. Transfer the ham to the oven bag, remove excess air and cinch the top with the provided bag tie. Trim any excess plastic above the tie. Place the bag in a 13″x9″ glass baking dish.
  5. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for ~90 minutes, rotating dish every 30 minutes.
  6. Check the temperature of the ham after 90 minutes. If it has reached 100°F. remove from the oven and allow to rest, in the bag. If not then continue to cook.
  7. Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.

Notes:
I go back and forth on whether a spiral cut ham works as well as non-precut ham. Spiral is convenient and provides a more picturesque result. Personally I like thicker pieces of ham than you get with a non-precut ham though.

Family tradition states that ham is served with a glaze/sauce made from brown sugar, yellow mustard and a small amount of pineapple juice. I find the ham tasty enough without the excess sweetness.

Corn and Ham soup

It’s been a rainy day and my husband has been sick for 3 days or so.  There really isn’t anything convenient to bring to work for lunch either. I didn’t really want to go to grocery store so I made a big pot of soup with leftover bits and pieces we had kicking around.

Ham and Corn Soup
Servings: 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/2 onions, small dice
  • 2 red peppers, small dice
  • 24 oz. frozen corn
  • 3″ piece of Parmesan cheese rind
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ham, diced
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook for 5 minutes to begin rendering the fat.
  2. Add the onions, peppers and a big pinch of salt. Stir to coat in the bacon fat and cook until the onions and peppers begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the corn, stir to combine and heat for 2 or 3 minutes until the corn starts to thaw.
  4. Add the cheese rind, broth and water. Stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the diced ham, chipotle and thyme. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Check one of the potatoes; if you can pierce it easily with a fork then soup is on.
  8. Taste the soup and add salt/pepper to your taste.

Notes:
I used a mix of regular frozen corn and frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s.

I keep a jar of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base in the fridge so I can always have a broth available when needed.