Tag Archives: ham

Hammy Yellow Split Pea Soup

A meaty ham bone, flavourful ham stock from boiling a large smoked picnic shoulder ham, a pound of split yellow (or green) split peas, and you’ve got a delicious and filling soup for not a lot of money.

Hammy Yellow Split Pea Soup – serves 6-8

2 cups (~450 gm) dry yellow split peas
6 cups (1.5 L) ham broth, from cooking a smoked, picnic shoulder ham
1-2 cups water or chicken stock, as needed
1 ham bone with some meat on it
1-2 tsp vegetable oil
1-2 tsp dry thyme
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped*
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped*
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped*
1 tsp salt, start with 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp celery salt**
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2-1 cup diced ham (optional)

* If you’re going to leave your soup chunky, dice your onion, carrots and celery finely.
** It turned out that I was out of celery, so I added the celery salt. Soup recipes are usually adjustable depending on what’s in your pantry or veggie drawer.

The night before you make the soup, pick through the dry split peas for any impurities, place the peas into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Rinse a few times, rubbing the split peas between the palms of your hand to help any dry skins come off, and then let sit covered with fresh cold water overnight. You’ll see some foam produced during this process (from the starch in the split peas) which is visually unattractive but not actually harmful.

The next day, drain the split peas and reserve.

In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the vegetable oil until the onion is translucent and tender. Add the diced carrots and celery and saute for a few more minutes.

Add the bay leaf and thyme, ham bone, drained soaked split peas, and ham broth. Add half a teaspoon of the salt, celery salt and the ground black pepper and bring to a boil. You may need to add another cup or so of water or chicken stock to cover the ham bone. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 1-2 hrs until the split peas are very tender.

Check after 5-10 minutes and skim off any foam or other impurities that have come to the surface.

Remove the ham bone, trim any meat from the bone, dice into bite sized pieces and return to the saute pan of soup. Discard the bone and gristle.

If a smooth texture is desired for the soup, puree the soup before returning any meat to the soup. For a more meaty soup, add additional diced ham to the pot after the soup has been pureed and re-heat before serving.

Taste again before serving and adjust as necessary by adding more salt, or water, if the texture of the soup is too thick.

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Creamy Corn, Ham and Potato Chowder ver 3 (or is it 4)

I rarely make a soup the same way twice in a row. Like this ham and potato chowder. Usually, I use carrots as well as celery to give it added body and flavour. Sometimes I add cream. Sometimes it’s just milk. And the thickener may be flour or cornstarch. Sometimes, there’s no thickener except for the starch from the potatoes. For a change of flavour, I used dried thyme in this batch. It’s always good.

Creamy Corn, Ham and Potato Chowder

2 tbsp bacon fat or butter
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced (optional)
1 medium onion, small diced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels or kernels cut from a couple of cobs of fresh corn
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups stock (chicken, vegetable or ham*)
1 1/2 cups whole milk (or 1 cup 2% milk and 1/2 cup whipping cream**)
2 medium or 3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes
7-8 oz (220 gm) leftover ham, 1/2 inch cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

* Ham stock used from boiling a smoked picnic shoulder ham with a tablespoon of pickling spices.
** I didn’t have any whole milk and I liked the richness that the whipping cream gave the chowder.

In a large saute pan over medium/medium high heat saute the onion in bacon fat or butter, until it’s translucent and starts picking up some colour on the edges. Add the diced garlic and saute for another minute or two.

Stir in the corn and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook for another couple of minutes. Gradually stir in the stock, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Stir in potatoes.

Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer covered until the potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes.

Stir in the ham, milk, salt and pepper, to taste, heat until the ham is warmed through. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately.

Italian Easter Ham Pie

This Italian Easter ‘pie’ has many names and several variations as to crust and fillings. This is the version that I decided to make, but if you want to look for others, here are some names to look for:  Italian Easter Ham pie, pizzagaina (or chiena,chena,cena), pizza rustica, pizza ripiena, pizza piena.

Italian Easter Ham Pie for Two – makes 2 4-inch diameter mini deep dish pies

pastry for a pie crust bottom only

140 gm dry curd cheese or cottage cheese or ricotta**
40-50 gm grated Mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten, 1 tbsp removed for egg wash
1/2 tsp dry parsley
1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6-8 slices diced deli meat (pepperoni, Genoa salami, capocollo or smoked ham)

Egg wash – 1 tbsp beaten egg and a splash of cream or milk

** Home made paneer cheese (an Indian dry curd cheese) was used. I got 290 gm (10.44 oz) of drained cheese from 2 liters (8 cups) of milk and 1/4 cups of white vinegar.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out two bases (8 inches in diameter) and two tops (5 inches in diameter) and line two deep dish disposable aluminum pie tins with the bases. Set aside the tops.

Mix together the filling ingredients and fill the pie tins. Press down a bit on the filling to compact it.

Moisten the edges of the bases, put on the tops, seal and, with the tines of a fork, seal again. Place the pie tins on a baking sheet for convenient transfer to the oven.

Brush the top of the pies with the egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the two pie tins to a cooling rack. Cool for 30 minutes to set the filling.

The pies may be eaten warm, room temperature or cold with a salad for a complete meal or on their own for a snack.

Re-post of Old Standbys

PICSPAM BELOW:

Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to research/cook/post new recipes. So I dig out the tried and true recipes of the past. Pork is featured in some form in almost everything below, except for the chili.

Like pork crackling biscuits.

I use bacon fat instead of lard or butter for the lamination.

You don’t need to cross-hatch the top of the dough before cutting out the biscuits, but it does make them pretty.

Ham and bean (pinto) soup flavoured with bay leaves and thyme

Chili topped tostadas

Debrecener (Hungarian style pork) smoked sausages served over sauteed coleslaw flavoured with balsamic vinegar

Sometimes I just fry the sliced sausage rings and serve them with fried eggs and cottage cheese for breakfast.

Pizzas made with Greek flatbread

… or with my regular white bread/pizza dough. Half of the dough was used to make a 12 inch diameter pepperoni, mozzarella and fresh basil pizza and the rest was shaped into buns for work lunches.

Nice fluffy crumb in the pizza crust

Underside of the buns – baked for 20 minutes at 400 deg F then basted with melted butter

How to Eat Out on a Budget

The answer is .. you don’t.

At least, if I do, it’s very rare these days.

Dim sum, sushi and Red Lobster are my only dining out treats, but even they are quite rare … a few times a year.

Let’s do the math of dining out in comparison to cooking at home.

The last time I went out for AYCE sushi, I spent $17 and change. And that didn’t include a $3 tip.

In comparison, I spent $10 ($14 regular price with a 30% discount 30%) on a smoked picnic shoulder ham, and another $7 for a package of 4 fresh, skinless, bone in chicken breasts. Sometimes you can find boneless chicken breasts on deep discount.

After boiling the ham, I ended up with 18 cups of broth. I used half of the broth to make 11 cups/servings of ham and bean soup. I used 2 cups of diced cooked ham in the soup and still had enough ham left over for eight generous servings for other meals.

As to the chicken breasts, which were big enough to serve two people each if just simply breaded and baked, the possible usages are plentiful. Another option is turning the meat into breaded cutlets or chicken fillets.

Admittedly, chicken and pork are the most inexpensive proteins available … $2 – 2.50 a pound. Fish and seafood are a lot pricier. And a premium steak. The savings of cooking at home aren’t as obvious, but it’s still cheaper than dining out … two meals in for the price of one meal in a restaurant.

Every time I get tempted to dine out, I do the math.

Although, being frugal in my grocery shopping means that I CAN afford to treat myself occasionally.

What’s your favourite dining out treat? Do you eat out as much as you used to 5 yrs ago, 10?

ETA: I spent $18 on this name brand (Butterball) turkey bought frozen for $1.49 a pound. Lots of breast meat, thighs turned into a spicy Indian curry dish, roasted wings and drumsticks, turkey and rice soup, giblet and rice dressing, delicious gravy and the carcass will end up in a big pot turkey stock.

Sweet Pickled Cottage Roll Dinner

I’ve never cooked one of these packaged boned, rolled and brined pork shoulders before but the technique is quite simple. It’s all written on the package.

After 2 hours of braising the cottage roll in 2 cups of water along with 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns, a smashed, peeled clove of garlic and a couple of bay leaves in a covered dutch oven, at 325 deg Fahrenheit, the netting is removed, the thin fat cap is scored and the roll is transferred to a baking sheet for another 15-20 minutes (at 350 deg F) to brown the top. A drizzle of maple syrup or a tablespoon of brown sugar may also be added to the top and caramelized under the broiler.

For additional flavour, I took half a large onion and cubed it and then added it, along with a couple of peeled carrots cut into large chunks, and half a dozen whole, washed, new potatoes under the roll . The potatoes and carrots cooked in that first 2 hour baking period and then were kept warm in the dutch oven while the meat was finished off.

The result is a cross between a New England boiled dinner and corned beef and cabbage, without the cabbage. And with pork instead of beef.

If you like cabbage, you can shred half a cabbage and place it in the strained broth (discard garlic, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns) in the dutch oven. Transfer the potatoes and carrots to a medium bowl and keep warm. Cook the cabbage in the 350 deg F oven with the roll while it’s browning until the cabbage is tender.

Verdict: The meat is very tasty, tender and moist. However it’s a very fatty cut so you may want to limit your intake.

I used some uneven pieces to make a couple of ham and cheese sandwiches. You can also fry leftover slices of the ham and serve it for breakfast along with eggs and home fried potatoes.

Sad Anniversary and Happy Memories

Last weekend was the sixth anniversary of my dad’s passing. As we’re planning on bulldozing the old bungalow in the county, especially after six years of unfettered mouse invasion, I made a last pass through to see if there was anything left salvageable.

I found a 4 piece set of cranberry coloured dishes that my SIL had bought them years ago and that they had barely used, a couple of baking dishes and a large Japanese made chef’s knife. The ceramic snowman is a salt and pepper shaker set … and there’s home made rakija (home made fruit brandy) in the brown glass decanter.

I put aside some other dishes and glassware that can be donated. And bagged a lot of clothes only suitable for burning

I also found a gray sweater that my mom had knitted for my dad and a multi-coloured woven scarf which I’ll wear in the winter.

In the past week, I’ve eaten off the dishes, and made an apple pie in the blue glass Pyrex baking dish and baked macaroni and cheese in the white ceramic dish.

And this weekend, I made one of my dad’s favourite soups, ham and white bean. Although he liked this soup more like a stew in texture, I went for a thinner version which could be used to soak up some good home made bread. And that sharp chef’s knife did a great job on the veggies. I also made a red version of this soup for a change of pace.

Happy Easter!

After a modest meatless Good Friday meal, Easter is a celebratory occasion and this meal reflects that.

Soup was re-purposed from the salted cod, cannellini bean dip with the addition of egg noodles and ham broth.

Ham glazed with a plum balsamic reduction, mashed potatoes and peas with cherries jubilee

Washed down with strawberry lemonade.

I made a batch of crepes and paired them with the cherries jubilee sauce.

And drunken strawberries (strawberries macerated in sugar and Cointreau) over crepes with French vanilla ice cream.

And then, cause I had some cream puffs in the freezer and fresh strawberries, I sliced half open and filled them with sliced strawberries and sweetened whipped cream. I made a chocolate glaze to finish the presentation. Pretty but a bit messy to eat.

So, I piped the whipped cream into the rest of the cream puffs and served them with chocolate dipped strawberries.

Pick the one you want or eat one … or 2 of each.

Good Friday Meal Pan fried Panko breaded sole fillets, sauteed kale and a re-purposed white cannellini bean dip over dried salted cod. (No recipe cause I’m still working on getting it as good as my dad’s. After last year’s under-seasoned dish, this year, I didn’t soak the cod long enough and the dip needed to be baked longer as it was a bit too watery from the moisture in the cod. Eaten with the semolina sourdough bread, however, the saltiness was reduced somewhat. I started the meal with clam chowder.

Polish Pierogies – Potatoes, Cream Cheese and Caramelized Onions

There were a few dishes that my mother rarely, or never, made when I was growing up. Pierogies were one of them. Oh, she’d make the occasional Romanian “Gomboti cu prune” which my SIL identified as “Szilvas Gomboc” (Hungarian Plum Dumplings) for us, but I never remember eating the savoury version.

I always thought they’d be a huge amount of work so, over the years, I’ve bought the bags of frozen pierogies from the grocery store and boiled and pan fried them at home with diced onions, and served them with a heaping spoonful of sour cream.

I know that FB can be a waste of time/distraction, but one takes food inspiration wherever it’s found, and the recent flood of pierogi posts inspired ME to make a batch. (By the way, prime rib posts have been popping up in my FB cooking groups, like mushrooms after a rain. I don’t want to say that MY Christmas menu post has been the inspiration, but you can draw your own conclusion.)

I used a potato, caramelized onion and cream cheese filling … cause I had caramelized onions and the cream cheese in the fridge. I don’t know when/if I’ll make them again, though I DO want to make gomboti, the next time I find some plums at the grocery store. I think my mom used sour plums but it’s been a long time since I last had them so I’ll use whatever’s available.

The recipe is a somewhat rewritten version of one I found on Youtube. They were called “Polish Pierogies” so that’s what I’m titling this post.

Polish Pierogi – makes 24 – 32

Filling:

1 1/2 pounds potatoes (2 large russets)
2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion**
1 small clove of garlic, crushed or 1/8 tsp garlic powder**
3 ounces (1/3 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Dough:

2 1/2 cups (~11 oz) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup water, you can use a bit less

** I used about 1/4 cup of caramelized onions and the garlic powder, because I was too lazy to fry just the garlic.

Filling (make ahead):

Place peeled, quartered potatoes in a pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.

Meantime, brown onions & garlic in oil on med-low for 10 min.

Drain and mash the potatoes, adding onion & garlic, cream cheese, salt & pepper. (Or you can rice the potatoes into a large bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients and fork everything together.)

Set aside to cool. Shape into 1-tablespoon size mounds if desired for convenient portioning and to make the filling process go more quickly.

NOTE: I ‘quartered’ the amount of filling I had in the bowl by eye, and then scored the top of the filling with a knife. I took out the filling, a quarter at a time and rolled each quarter into a log, which I divided into 6 equal portions. Then I rolled THESE into balls. After using up half the filling, I thought the ‘balls’ were too big so on the second half, I divided each quarter of filling into 8ths. This should give you 32 generously filled pierogies rather than 24 overstuffed ones.

Dough:

Combine flour & salt in a bowl. Make a well and add sour cream, egg and water, combining with a fork or metal spoon.

Place on a well-floured board and knead for 50 turns (using a scraper if needed) until smooth. Cover with a towel or inverted bowl & let rest at least 10 minutes. You can wrap the dough in food wrap and refrigerate until the next day, if you need to, though it’s a fast dough to put together the day you make your pierogies so it’s not necessary.

Shaping the pierogies:

Divide the dough into thirds. Keeping extra dough covered, roll each section 1/8” thick, adding flour as needed. Cut 3-inch circles, saving leftover scraps of dough. Combine the leftover dough scraps from rolling the three portions for your last portion of filling.

Fill each circle with about one tablespoon of potatoes or your filling ‘balls’, fold into a half circle, and pinch edges tightly. Place apart on a towel or baking sheet sprinkled with flour.

Place the pierogies in boiling salted water, stirring at first (with the handle of a wooden spoon so as not to pierce the pierogies) to keep them separated, and cook about 3 minutes until they rise to the top, then another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove to an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle some more oil over the top of the pierogies so they don’t dry out.

You may also freeze your unboiled pierogies on the floured sheet and then place them in freezer bags.

Saute your boiled pierogies in a pan with butter or olive oil until they’re golden and serve with caramelized onions and sour cream for a delicious treat.

You can also bake them on an oiled baking sheet in a 350 deg. F oven until lightly golden.

A beautiful accompaniment to a simple boiled ham dinner.

Baked Mac and Cheese with Ham and Peas and some Pepperoni and Cheese Balls

On the weekend, I thawed an 8 oz package of cooked ham, diced it up, and intended to use it in a pot of soup, along with a ham bone. There was a generous amount of meat on the bone, which I removed and added to the soup, so I only used half (4 oz) of the ham I’d diced up. The rest, along with a cup of thawed green peas, went into a baked mac and cheese. I started with Alton Brown’s recipe … but I made a couple of changes as I didn’t have Panko crumbs. And instead of chopping up an onion to add to the bechamel/cheese sauce, I used the last of a container of fried onions purchased from an Asian grocery store.

My usual cheese sauce is quite thick and the baked mac and cheese doesn’t really need to baked … just warmed through. However, this version is much looser, and uses an egg to add creaminess, so the baking is essential. My substitution of regular bread crumbs was a bit disappointing in that it didn’t brown as much as I would have liked so I turned on the broiler. And then got distracted by prepping the romaine for a salad. Disaster almost struck. It didn’t burn but a few spots were quite dark. I tried to spoon them off and then just gave up. 🙂

Baked Mac and Cheese with Ham and Peas

Baked Macaroni and Cheese – makes 6 to 8 servings

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced (or 1/4 cup fried onions)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika
1 large egg
12 oz sharp cheddar, shredded (8 oz only used)
1 tsp kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Topping:

3 tbsp butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a large (2 qt/2.5 L) casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

These are the fried onions, I used instead.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into the casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. (I chose not to do so and only use 8 oz of cheese.)

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes. (You may want to turn on the broiler for a minute or so if your breadcrumbs aren’t as dark as you’d like. Watch carefully though so you don’t burn the bread crumbs. ) Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes before serving.

NOTE: use 1 tbsp melted butter combined with 1/2 cup regular fine bread crumbs. No cheddar on top … just 8 oz in the sauce

Ham and Pea Variation: Stir 4-8 oz diced ham and 1 cup peas (thawed if frozen) into pasta/sauce mixture before pouring into casserole dish.

Sometimes you thaw pizza dough and then decide you really don’t WANT to make a pizza. These Pepperoni and Mozzarella Cheese Balls are a great appetizer idea for company or to treat your family on a week day.

Basic Bread/Pizza Dough – makes one 1 1/2 pound loaf or 2 12-14 inch diameter pizzas

3 – 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus more for kneading
1 1/4 cups warm tap water (test on the inside of your wrist)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 packet ( 2 1/4 tsp) granulated yeast
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In a medium sized bowl, stir 1 tsp sugar into 1 1/4 cups warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let rise for 10 min until the mixture is frothy.

Put about 2 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the activated yeast mixture and the olive oil. Stir with a fork until it holds together into a rough ball. Remove the ball of dough to a floured surface and, using the remaining flour, knead 8-10 min until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Compare the smoothness and texture to your earlobe if you don’t have a baby’s bottom handy. 🙂 )Oil the large mixing bowl lightly and put the ball of kneaded dough in, rolling it around so that the ball is covered lightly with the oil. Cover with a piece of saran wrap and a large towel/cloth and put the bowl in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Prepare a baking sheet with sprinkled cornmeal. Shape the dough into 2 baguettes onto the baking sheet, cover again and let rise a second time until the baguettes have doubled in size. That should take 45 min to 1 hr depending on the warmth of the room.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brush or sprinkle the tops of the baguettes with water and place a pan of boiling hot water on a lower shell in the oven. Place the tray with the breads so they’re in the middle of the oven. Bake at 400 F for 20 min. Remove and test for doneness by rapping the bottom (knocking) with your knuckle. It should sound hollow.

For Pizza: Divide dough into two pieces, roll out to fit pan. Brush edge of dough with olive oil, top and bake in a preheated 475 deg F oven for 20-25 min or until the crust is browned and toppings are cooked.

For Pepperoni and Cheese Balls: Divide your dough (1 1/2 lbs) into 16-18 portions, stretch each portion out into a 2 1/2 inch circle and stuff with a chunk or two of pepperoni and a mozzarella cube, pinch into a ball and place on a prepared baking sheet. Use either a greased baking sheet or line a regular baking sheet with parchment paper. and bake in a preheated oven at 375 deg F for 25-30 minutes.

Dip into your favourite pizza or spaghetti sauce


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