Tag Archive | "ham"

The Hambone’s Connected to the Easter Menu

To many, Easter dinner is the perfect time for ham. But where did this tradition begin? If you check the Internet, you’ll find a host of possibilities, ranging from Christians co-opting pagan rituals to American soil being more suited to pigs than lambs. (Comparing the price of the two meats is a strong argument for the latter.)

Use fresh ham, not cured or smoked, in this recipe.A more common sense explanation can be found on the Christian blog, Liturgical Time: “Throughout most of the centuries of Christianity, (and still for Eastern Orthodox Christians, whose stick-to-itiveness is to be highly commended), no meat was eaten during Lent.  Since livestock was slaughtered in the Fall, and there was no refrigeration, any meat left over on Ash Wednesday, (at the beginning of Lent), had to be cured if it was to be preserved.  Hence, on Easter Day, when the long 55 days of Lent were finally over and meat could be eaten, a lovely cured ham was the natural choice.”

Does it really matter why people eat ham on Easter or the rest of the year? It’s delicious. It’s not too expensive. And it’s plentiful.

Texans love their ham, but the writers of a great many Texas cookbooks are more interested in offering recipes for what to do with leftovers. Perhaps they were all trying to prove the great Dorothy Parker wrong when she quipped, “Eternity is a ham and two people.”

But here are a few suggestions from Texas cookbooks to make your holiday dinner centerpiece even more enjoyable this year.

First are some glaze ideas from the “Houston Junior League Cookbook”:

Ham Glazes:

  • Mix equal parts of jelly and prepared mustard.
  • Combine 2 cups cranberry sauce and ½ cup brown sugar.
  • Mix ½ cup honey with 1 cup brown sugar and ½ cup orange juice.
  • Mix 1 cup honey with ½ cup orange marmalade.
  • Combine 1 cup brown sugar and ½ cup syrup from canned spiced crab apples. Garnish with heated crab apples.

And here’s a basting sauce you can use for more than ham, as it appears in “The Wide, Wide World of Texas Cooking”:

Basting Sauce for Meat Loaf, Ham, Pork

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Vinegar, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and boil until sugar has melted. Keep warm until needed. Store leftover sauce, covered, in refrigerator.

Makes 1 ¼ cups.

From “The Wide, Wide World of Texas Cooking” by Morton G. Clark

Finally, here’s a recipe for a stuffed ham that appears in the “Celebrate San Antonio Cookbook”:

Bourbon Cashew Studded Ham


1 (5- to 6-pound) cooked ham
1 cup bourbon
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
15 to 20 whole cashews


1 ½ cups herb stuffing mix (Pepperidge Farm preferred)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
3 eggs
¾ cup parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a saucepan, combine bourbon, sugar and cloves. Simmer mixture for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix stuffing ingredients together. Make holes in top of ham with apple corer at 2-inch intervals. Save ham pieces for another use. Stuff holes in ham with one cashew then stuffing mix and one cashew on top. Spread rest of stuffing on top of ham. In a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, place ham and pour bourbon sauce on top. Bake uncovered for 1 ½ hours until crust is golden brown. Baste with bourbon sauce while ham is cooking.

Makes 20 to 25 servings.

From “Celebrate San Antonio Cookbook” by the San Antonio Junior Forum


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Carne en Salsa de Licores (Pork in Fruit Liqueur Sauce)

Use fresh ham, not cured or smoked, in this recipe.

Use fresh ham, not cured or smoked, in this recipe.

This party dish comes from Zarela Martinez’s wonderful “Zarela’s Veracruz,” which is still available in hardcover and paperback from   You must have fresh ham, not smoked or brine-cured. You can substitute pork loin for the ham, but it could come out dry, so make sure it is well basted.

Carne en Salsa de Licores (Pork in Fruit Liqueur Sauce)

9 garlic cloves, 5 coarsely chopped, 4 left whole
6 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only, or 2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme
6 fresh oregano sprigs, leaves only, or 2 teaspoons crumbled dried oregano
10 Italian parsley sprigs
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste, divided use
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 fresh ham, preferably butt half (bone in); about 6 pounds
2-3 tablespoons lard, preferably freshly rendered
1 large white onion, sliced into thin half-moons
6 scallions, green tops only, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups orange liqueur, preferably a low-alcohol brand
1 cup blackberry liqueur, preferably a low-alcohol brand
1 cup cider vinegar

Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the chopped garlic to a paste with the herbs, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. With the top of a sharp knife, pierce shallow incisions all over the ham, and push a little of the paste into each. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rub a light film of lard all over the meat and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Scatter the onion, scallions and whole garlic cloves over the bottom of a large deep baking pan. Place the ham on this bed of aromatics. Combine the liqueurs and vinegar in a medium bowl and pour over the meat. Cover the pan tightly (wrap snugly in several layers of aluminum foil if it has no lid) and bake for 3 hours, turning twice, until tender. Uncover the ham to a platter and let sit for a few minutes before carving.

Meanwhile,, set a medium mesh sieve over a bowl and pour the contents of the roasting pan into it. use a wooden spoon or pusher to force through as much as possible of the flavorful solids.

Carve the ham and pass the pan sauce in a gravy boat.

Makes 8-10 servings.

From “Zarela’s Veracruz” by Zarela Martinez

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Dress Up Your Leftover Ham

Ham-and-Pineapple Slaw

Do you have plenty of ham left over from Sunday and don’t know what to do with it? Try this nontraditional salad recipe, from Southern Living’s new cookbook, “101 Ways to Cook Southern” (Oxmoor House, $34.95) It gets a lively crunch from cabbage and a touch of sweetness from pineapple.

I found the pineapple a little too sweet for my tastes, so I added a half cup of chopped celery. It provided balance and a crisp texture. Onion would also work.

Cabbage for the slaw.

Ham-and-Pineapple Slaw Sandwiches

2 cups chopped cooked ham
3 cups shredded or chopped cabbage
1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Lettuce or greens, optional
4 French sandwich rolls

Combine ham, cabbage, pineapple, mayonnaise, cheese, salt and pepper, stirring gently. Place lettuce or greens to bottoms of rolls, if using. Spoon on salad; cover with tops and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Southern Living’s “1001 Ways to Cook Southern”

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Dress Up Leftover Ham with a Whiskey Sauce

Have you ever wondered what to do with leftover ham? Here’s an Irish recipe with a stunning sauce.

Ham in Whiskey Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
4 ham steaks, about 1-inch thick
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon white flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then brown the ham steaks, in batches, if necessary, for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the ham from the skillet when done and set aside, covering the steaks with foil to keep them warm.

[amazon-product]081186670X[/amazon-product]Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the same pan, then add the onions. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the onions from the skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the flour into the pan, mixing it into the butter and pan juices. Repeat the process with the brown sugar, then add the whiskey and the beef stock and stir it in well. Whisk in the cream, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, put 1 ham steak on each of 4 plates, spoon a quarter of the onions over each steak, then gently pour sauce over the onions and ham.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The Country Cooking of Ireland” by Colman Andrews

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Ham Great for Any Occasion

A spiral-cut ham saves time.

Easter is only a two days away, so hams are flying out of supermarket cases like turkeys at Thanksgiving. But limiting yourself to ham at this time of year is to deny yourself of one of the easiest treats to serve and enjoy year-round.

All you have to do is follow the label.

That’s it. There are no secrets to remember, no fancy steps to follow.

The label will tell you if you have bought a fully cooked or a partially cooked ham. It will also tell you if it’s spiral cut, which is a real time saver. You just won’t be able to attach any pineapples or maraschino cherries to it during the cooking process.

There is a cooking process to fully cooked hams. You could technically take it out of the wrapper and eat it, but it’s far better if you warm it up according to the directions. You can also glaze it, often with a glaze package attached to the meat. (I find those glazes a little sweet, so in making one I will vary the recipe somewhat, adding a spicy mustard to the mix for a sweet-hot blend. I also use only about half of the amount the packet makes because I want to taste ham first and foremost.)

If you don’t know which ham to buy, then ask yourself a few questions before going to the store:

  • How many people are you going to feed?
  • How long do you want to spend on preparing the ham before serving?
  • How much work do you want it to be after removing it from the oven?
  • What type of ham flavor are you looking for?

The first question is easy. If the ham has a bone, then plan on 2-3 servings per pound. If it is boneless, then it should offer 4-5 servings per pound.

If you would rather concentrate on the rest of your meal, consider a fully cooked or ready-to-eat ham that you can put in the oven and forget about until just before serving. Of the two shapes of hams you’ll encounter at the market, most experts agree that the rounder hams (the rump portion), rather than those with a point (the butt), are easier to carve.

That leads to the next question. Spiral cut hams, no matter the shape, take away a good deal of the work once the meat has been warmed and glazed.

There are numerous varieties of ham out there, from salt-cured country ham to fresh ham, which has no preservatives. Check with your butcher or someone in the meat department of your favorite supermarket about your options.

Once the first big meal is over, most leftover ham will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Ham doesn’t freeze particularly well, so use that bone in soup within several days.

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How Much Ham Do I Need?

Q. How much ham do I need to feed 20 people, 20 ham-loving people?


A. A 12- to 14-pound whole ham should be able to feed 20 to 24 people. Get one with the bone in it, so you can use any leftovers as the basis of a soup, such as split pea or ham with lentils.

If you have any food questions, e-mail

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Chefs’ Corner: Croque Monsieur from Brasserie Pavil

Chef Scott Cohen shows off his Croque Monsieur at Brasserie Pavil.

Chef Scott Cohen shows off his Croque Monsieur at Brasserie Pavil.

For the past few months, Brasserie Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W. at Huebner Road, has been wowing diners with its simple yet spectacular approach to French classics. Among them is chef Scott Cohen’s version of the Croque Monsieur, a griddled ham and cheese sandwich on sour dough bread drizzled with Mornay sauce.

Croque Monsieur

Mornay sauce:
1 pint milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 ounce flour
Pinch ground nutmeg
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
6 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

2 slices sourdough bread, about 5-6 inches in length
2 ounces (4 slices) Gruyere cheese cut 1/8-inch thick
5 (3-ounce) slices baked ham
1 tablespoon sweet butter

Serve with:
French fries, ketchup, Dijon mayonnaise, 1 sprig frisee, 2 cornichons, salt and pepper.

To make the Mornay sauce: Heat the milk in a small saucepan. Set aside. In a small pot add butter and flour. Cook at medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the flour mixture turns a golden blond, about 4 minutes.  Slowly add milk, stirring constantly and slowly. Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Slowly add cheese, stirring until all is melted.

To make the sandwich, butter each slice of sourdough bread and place butter-side down on griddle top. Add the ham on the top side of half and cheese to the top of the other half. Cook until lightly golden. Press sandwich halves together with the ham and cheese touching. Continue to cook each side of the sandwich until cheese is fully melted and golden brown. Remove sandwich from grill, slice in half. Place on a plate with fries. Garnish with cornichons. Serve the Mornay sauce on the side along with Dijon mayonnaise and ketchup.

From Scott Cohen / Brasserie Pavil

If you would like to see a favorite recipe from a local restaurant, e-mail

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