Thursday, April 16, 2009

101 Uses For Ham

Last week I bought my first ham. It was spiral sliced, smoked and had honey somewhere. It was really cheap because now that Aldi has had a makeover I can buy perishables without shuddering. For the first few days we just pulled slices straight off the ham and heated them up or ate them cold. It's pretty good for maybe three days. After that you're left with more than half a ham and a family that is thinking of skipping Easter to avoid the ham being served.
So I needed to do something with it. Ham and beans! Easily one of the best dishes using ham. What else? I've never made split pea soup, let's try that!

I started with the stock. Jt had trimmed the meat off the bone (leaving a nice bit on there) so I put it in my biggest pot which is now not very big since Jt ruined his second piece of cookware not long ago and it happened to be my nice, big stock pot. Anyway, in goes the ham bone with water to the rim of the pot. Add celery and half an onion, the first onion I've EVER purchased and cut in my own kitchen. Blech. Salt and pepper and simmer all day.
Around dinner-time I diced some carrots and celery and cooked it in a little oil. Next time I'll skip the oil and simmer the veggies in broth which is what I ended up doing anyway. I poured two cans or chicken broth into the pan with the veggies and put it at a near boil until it was all soft. Next goes the ham, chopped small, and four cans of canellini beans, rinsed and drained. You can use any white bean, I just happened to have these in the cabinet. (I was going to make Garlicky White Beans and Kale from The Expatriate's Kitchen but never got around to it) Since the stock was still simmering in the pot I poured four or five big ladlefulls into the beans. Then I topped off the stock with more water since I had a few more hours I could let it simmer.
These came out really good. Jt eats his with ketchup (ew) and my mom said she sometimes puts a tiny bit in when she first makes it.

On to the split peas. I haven't had this in ages but I liked it as a kid and I love anything that can be made in the crockpot. I put this together that same night so that I wouldn't have to find room in the fridge for the ham stock. If you wait, you can chill the stock and skim off the fat.
In the bottom of the crockpot I put chopped celery with the leaves, maybe three good size...things (any idea what those are called?), about a cup of carrots, diced small, and two crushed garlic cloves. Then goes two bags of rinsed split peas. I poured all of the stock over the top. I'm not sure how much broth there was except that once everything was in there it was very close to overflowing. I'd suggest using one bag of split peas and less broth but I wanted to use up the broth. (I just looked it up and you'll want 1-1/2 quarts of liquid for 1# of peas) I cooked it on low for 10 hours. Stir it really well when it's finished to break up the peas even more. This came out very, very good. The kids didn't like it and Jt hasn't tried it yet but I like it so whatever.

1 comment:

  1. Stalks! Celery stalks.

    Also: now I really want split pea soup.