Receipes using leftover ham

When you want to use left over ham, the obvious choices are fried ham and eggs for breakfast, of ham sandwiches for lunch. But don’t stop there. Ham is so versatile that with a bit of imagination and creativity, you can prepare an endless variety of tempting and often surprising dishes.

Ham is a natural for comforting casseroles. Chop ham into small chunks to use in many different combinations. Here are just a few ideas (approximate baking times given for a 350 degree oven are provided after each suggestion):

Mix ham with any variety of cooked pasta, and cover with tomato or cheese sauce (bake for 45 minutes).

Combine ham chunks, cooked rice, shredded cabbage, onions, and tomato sauce (bake for 45 minutes).

Stuff red or green bell peppers with ham and cooked rice, and bake in tomato soup or chicken broth (bake for 60 minutes).

Mix ham with cooked broccoli and/or cauliflower, and cover with grated cheese (bake for 30 minutes)

Layer ham slices, sliced fresh tomatoes and sliced zucchini (courgette or green marrow), and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garlic powder (bake for 35-40 minutes).

If you have cooked a bone-in ham, be sure to use the bone for soup stock. A popular choice is traditional pea soup, which is both hearty and easy to prepare. Boil the bone in a large pot of water for about an hour. Remove the bone from the stock and add:

2 cups of dried split peas (green or yellow)

1 chopped onion

1 sliced carrot

1 bay leaf

3 cloves of garlic, chopped, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Pepper to taste

Cut off any meat sticking to the bone and add it to the soup.  Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the peas become soft and mushy.  Use a potato masher to puree most of the peas before serving.

Another excellent ham bone recipe is the New Orleans classic, red beans and rice.

1 left over ham bone

1 pound dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight

(or 3 cans of prepared kidney beans)

1 chopped onion

2 sticks of chopped celery

1 bay leaf

3 cloves of garlic, chopped, or ½  teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or more, depending on taste)

Simmer the ham bone with the beans and other ingredients, adding water as necessary during cooking to prevent sticking. Presoaked, dried beans will take 2-3 hours to cook; canned beans only need to be cooked for an hour. Remove the ham bone, cut off the meat and return it to the cooking pot. Take 1 cup of cooked beans, mash to a paste, and stir back into the pot to thicken. Serve over cooked rice.

If you have a meat grinder, there are even more possibilities. You can grind ham and substitute it for ground beef in spaghetti sauce and other favorite ground beef recipes. To make “ham” burgers, mix one pound of ground ham with 1 cup of breadcrumbs and an egg, shape into patties and fry. Shepherd’s pie is a complete meal which is usually made with ground beef or ground lamb, but you can also make a hammy shepherd’s pie as follows:

Mix one pound of ground ham with chopped onions, and frozen mixed vegetables. Add ½ teaspoon each of savory and oregano, and stir in a can of mushroom soup.  Cover with mashed potatoes. Beat an egg and spread the beaten egg over the potatoes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Ground ham can also be used to make ham croquettes. These do take a fair amount of time to prepare, but make wonderful appetizers.  The basic procedure for making croquettes is to mix minced ham with a nutmeg-flavoured cream sauce and chill the mixture in the fridge. Then coat small balls of the mixture with egg and bread crumbs, fry in oil and drain on a paper towel.  Complete instructions for making these tasty morsels can be found at About.com.

So be creative, and enjoy “hamming it up”

Copyright Health Guidance 2017