Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hamming It Up

Spring is supposedly here.  I don't believe it but that's what they say.  With Easter on the horizon my food brain gravitates to ham and eggs.  Why is that anyway?  I get the egg thing but what is the deal with ham and Easter?  I don't have a problem with it since it's about one of two or three times a year that we have ham, but I am a little curious as to how that became the official meat of the Resurrection.  I recently made a hammy recipe that I thought I would share because you might find it a nice way to use up some of that leftover ham.  The recipe is Ham and Vegetable Gratin from Food Network Magazine (go figure).
First I should explain that the veggies in this recipe were onion, potatoes, and frozen peas and carrots.  I have a life long aversion to peas (unless they remain tucked in their pods) so I used a fresh carrot and a cup or so of chopped fresh broccoli.  Pre-heat your oven to 375 and chop your veggies.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large oven proof skillet.
Add the peas and carrots or in this case broccoli and carrots, onions and potatoes and cook until veggies start to soften, about 6 min.
Next add your ham and a few tablespoons of whole wheat flour and some dried thyme.
Next comes some chicken broth.  Bring that to a boil and then add milk and simmer a few minutes until slightly thickened.  Now put the skillet in the oven and cook until the potatoes are tender.
While that's in the oven, melt some butter in a medium pan and add 3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs and chopped fresh parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.
Stir until lightly toasted, 3-4 min.
Scatter the crumbs over the ham and veggies when they come out of the oven and let rest about 5 min before serving.
We decided to top ours with an over easy egg and unanimously decided that it was a great addition.
The next day I reheated it in a skillet and scrambled an egg into it and topped with a sprinkle of melted cheddar.  Oh man, that was good! I'm a huge fan of leftovers.

Ham and Vegetable Gratin (Food Network Magazine)

4 Tbs unsalted butter
1 small onion chopped
2 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 1lb), diced
1 10oz pkg frozen mixed peas and carrots (or 1 cup diced carrot and 1 cup chopped broccoli)
1/4 lb low sodium ham, chopped (I'm sure I used twice that)
3 Tbs whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Melt 1 Tbs butter in a large oven proof skillet over med-high heat.  Add onion, potatoes, chopped veg and cook, stirring occasionally until soft about 5-6 min.  Add the ham, thyme, and flour and mix well.  Stir in broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in milk and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 min.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake about 20 min or until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 Tbs butter in a medium skillet over med-high heat.  Add panko, parsley and an 1/8 tsp of salt and pepper each. Cook stirring until lightly toasted, about 4 min.

Remove ham skillet from the oven, top with crumbs and let rest 5 min before serving.

I highly recommend the addition of a poached or lightly fried egg.