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Ham!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Recently I purchased a nice, thick ham steak, cut up a piece, fried the pieces, and added them to an omelet. Well, that was pretty durned good. I's never had ham before except in thin slices in sandwiches, and at that, only a few times.

Now that I've had an intrduction to this tasty meat, I'm wondering what else can be done with it. For the time being I want to concentrate on the possibilities offered by these ham steaks - not ready to fully explore country hams.

I've seen some photos of ham with pineapple - I love pineapple - what suggestions might you have for combining the two ingredients? I can see adding pieces of the ham to soup, eggs, maybe mixing into rice (fried and otherwise). Is there a preferred method for frying or sauteing? What other things can be done with these ham steaks?

FWIW, I'm using Niman Ranch ham - it's cut in about eight inch round slices, anout 1/2-inch thick. What should I look for when buying similar pieces of ham? Are there some other brands worth trying, and what may they be? Can you get such steaks in a more smoky flavor?

shel - the ham dunce
post #2 of 27
I've seen those sorts of slices in all sorts of ham configurations, Shel: Country ham, and city ham; cured, boiled (i.e. "Polish), etc. And you can find country ham packaged in every form from biscuit slices to steaks.

At the deli counter they sell all kinds of ham; from Black Forest to smoked to honey-glazed. Anything there can be purchased sliced as thickly as you want. So one approach might be to sample the available hams, then, when you find one you like, have them slice it 1/2" thick.

While generally interchangeable, each type would best serve a particular purpose. For instance, I can't imagine sitting down to a breakfast of city ham and red-eye gravy.

The ham & pineapple you've seen usually comes from a whole ham, in which the pineapple rings are used as part of the glaze. For a steak as you describe, I would first panfry to give it some color and heat through. Then I would lay a pineapple ring on the steak, sprinkle with some brown sugar and powdered clove, and pop under the broiler for a minute or two.

Don't confine your thinking to slices, steaks, and chunks. Ham makes great spreads. And the texture can be varied based on whether you go with grinding the ham, chopping it, or cutting in a small dice. A simple ham spread can be made, for instance, by mixing together a couple cups finely chopped boiled ham with a tablespoon or so of grated onion, a pinch of dry mustard, and enough sour cream to bind it together.

As you experiment, keep firmly in mind that there are all sorts of hams. So if you don't care for one, it may be because of the type, or it may be that brand of that type. And there are all sorts of specialty cures and finishes as well. Tasso, for instance, is just as much "ham" as plain boiled. But in terms of texture and taste they are worlds apart.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've had black forest ham a few times in sandwiches. I like it, and the store where I got the ham has big chunks of BF ham (from Niman Ranch) also. I may try that.

Hmmm .... that sounds like a good approach. I might try it first without sugar as the pineapple is usually sweet enough for me, but I suppose the sugar adds some extra flavor and caramelization. The concept seems like it may produce some good, tasty results.

Great idea! I've heard of something called deviled ham. Is that similar or along the lines of what you describe? Could make for an interesting sandwich spread, perhaps ..

Yes! Sounds like a litle Googling and recipe searches are in order. Oh, I've had some great prociutto over the years, so I suppose I'm not quite the newbie to ham as it first seemed.

Thanks for all the ideas,

shel
post #4 of 27
While a ham is nigh unto indestructable in that it's just about impossible to make a bad one, pineapple and cloves comes pretty close to making it bad.

At least in my opinion.
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post #5 of 27
Yeah, Deviled Ham is similar. But, as with most things, what you make at home and what Armour sells you in the little tins, ain't quite the same deal.

Ham can be used, too, in casseroles---as either the starring player or in a supporting role, such as:

Swiss Chard & Ham Casserole

2 lb chard
2 onions
4 med tomatoes
2 ckups diced ham
1/2 lb Gouda
1/4 lb bacon
2 cups cooked rice
4 eggs
dash nutmeg
Salt & pepper
4 tbls apple juice

Chop chard coarsely. Chop onions and bacon. Fry bacon & onions until onions are transparent but not browned. Add chard. Sprinkle with juice and saute until chard is limp. Season with salt & pepper.

Dice tomatoes. Grate cheese.

Cover bottom of large baking dish with the rice. Cover with chard mixture. Sprinkle 2/3 of the cheese. layer the tomatoes nad ham over top. Sprinkle remaining cheese over all.

Whist eggs with nutmeg, salt & pepper and pour evenly over the casserole.

Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until eggs are set and the dish heated through.

Or this one:

Ham Casserole Webb

Saute a finely chopped 12 ouz ham steak in 2 tbls butter until heated through. Transfer to a bowl. Saute 2 cups finely chopped onion in 3 tbls butter until lightly browned. Add 1/2 ound mushrooms, finely chopped, and saute untill most of the juices evaporate. Season with salt & pepper and combine with the ham.

In a small bowl mix 1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs with 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/8 tsp sage and salt & pepper to taste. Mix 1 cup of the bread crumbs into the ham mixture and hadd 1 cup sour cream. Season mixture with salt & pepper to taste and spoon it into a buttered 1-quart gratin dish. Top it with the remaining bread crumbs and bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or untill crumbs turn golden.

An obvious (and, therefore, easy to forget) use is to take thin slices of ham and use them as wraps. Crab always makes a nice filling for these. But let your imagination go wild.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 27
sounds 60's but I adore wrapping a ham slice slathered in cream cheese around a pickled (hot) okra.......it was very much on the Southern hors deurve plate....salty, creamy, spicy, smooth, slightly crunchy, pickly goodness.

Jezebel sauce.....pineapple preserves (you can chop up a pineapple into fine dice if preserves would be too sweet), apple jelly, dry mustard, horseradish.
served with ham.

Any type of fruit.....apricots, apples, pears, cranberries, etc.....made into a chutney with mustard seeds (or dried or processed into mustard), onions, garlic, pepper flakes (or fresh chilis), optional brown sugar (or white).
hot or cold on any cut of pork

Ham and Eggs.......grew up with this in Sacramento......saute diced ham in small pan, add butter if necessary, pour beaten eggs over it and either make an omelet or softly scrambled eggs with ham. Montgomery cheddar or white vermont cheddar and scallions are also good additions.

Fritatta....same type premise (sorta kinda) add sliced cooked potatoes or cooked pasta.

Ham and Biscuits....

Maple Syrup makes a great glaze, add aforementioned dry mustard if you want a kick of heat.

One of my favorite restaurants in STL has a Wild Pig Sandwich.....ham, bacon, mustard (possibly dijon it's gotta kick), granny apple slices, cheddar.
warm, melty, covers a whole lotta bases including of course pig intake.

Nieman has good pig. Alot of the pork farmers in the mid-west raise under Nieman banner (with their specs). Our local pig farmers raise incredible meat.
I personally go directly to the source......cheaper, better quality and FRESH!!!
It's been a while since I've been in your neck of the woods but pork was not a predominent product at the farmers' markets. Actually, none come to mind.
But there's bound to be some local source in your area. TJ's carries Nieman, they've got Usingers and a couple other meat brands that have a good reputation.....

Now, bacon......Nuetskes slab bacon is very very hard to beat. Ummmmm, lardons.
cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Never heard of Jezebel sauce. I'd probably just dice some pineapple very fine, maybe dice up an apple instead of using apple jelly. Don'tcare much for jellies - too sweet, mouth texture unsatisfactory. Much rather stay closer to the source of the fruit if possible.

Sounds interesting - might be worth some experiments. I do like the idea of wrapping ham around fruit and cheese.

Yeah, made that yesterday - pretty good. Didn't have any cheese handy, but I wanted some.

Not seen pork at the farmers markets, but I've not looked very hard. Lots of sources for Niman ranch meats here - TJ's is good because of the price and the turnover. However, I'd like to find a closer source - Niman processes even local pork in Utah, or maybe Idaho, I forget which. The meat travels a lot.

There are a few other good pork sources here, however I've not investigated the products yet. Niman is a reasonable stop-gap until a better source and product can be found.

Still looking for the perfect bacom ... getting closer by process of elimination. Found a nice, lean bacon but it's apple wood smoked - would love to find the same cut hickory smoked. The apple wood's not bad. Haven't been able to find Neutske's around here, and have no plans to mail order the stuff, especially an untried product.

shel
post #8 of 27
TJ's on occasion has carried sliced Nuetske bacon. Just ask the WS or MN chefs for their preference of bacon......bet you Nuetskes is in the top 3.
cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 27
You can also grill ham steaks. I like to make up a pineapple glaze using brown sugar and pineapple juice, then brush it on during the grilling process.

I also use ham (and the hambone) to make a vegetable soup like my mom always made when I was a kid.

I use it in casseroles, stir-fry concoctions over rice, omelets, scalloped potatoes, hashbrowns, and whatever else I can conjure up when I have leftovers or buy a small piece. I usually buy a large ham and have it for a Sunday or holiday meal and then use the leftovers during the week or freeze for later use.
post #10 of 27
Ham is something my mom never cooked so I didn't learn to use it until I was on my own. My ham repertoire is, therefore, not very elaborate. I buy a thick-cut Cook's ham slice. I rinse it and pat it dry. I slash the edges a bit to prevent curling and then microwave it, covered, for about four minutes with a little water added to keep it from sticking to the dish.

While that's heating, I make a sauce with juice-packed pineapple chunks. I combine just the juice with a bit of cinnamon stick, cloves (a very small amount), nutmeg and allspice, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. I thicken it with corn starch or arrowroot powder, add the pineapple, then serve it with the ham.

I have a fond remembrance of a wonderful pickled ham salad served cold at the Ox Yoke Inn in Amana, Iowa. It contained bite-sized ham pieces and onions in some type of vinegary brine. It was delicious! I Googled it and found the following recipe (among others):

PICKLED HAM FROM AMANA

2 cups cubed ham
2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1 large onion, sliced into rings or chopped
1 tbsp. whole mixed pickling spice
1 tsp. salt

Put pickling spice in a small cheesecloth bag and tie shut. Place all ingredients except ham in a sauce pan. Bring to boil and add cubed ham. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove spice bag and cover and chill before serving.
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post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
What's a "Cook's ham?"

Thanks for the recipes ... I think I'm going to get a chunk of Black Forest ham later today or tomorrow.

shel
post #12 of 27
Mezz,
Amana IA, Huh? Not exactly the cutting edge of culinary excitment but a wonderful trip down a lane when things were oh so much more simple. The DW and I have been to the Ox Yoke on occasion too. Really enjoyed just wandering around town and taking in the local charm. Last trip there was during our Anniversary on our way to Chicago from KC. Although that day we had lunch at the Brick Haus Restaurant. I have had the salad you're refering too. I found it to be one of those things I normally wouldn't eat but tried because I was there and then found I couldn't get enough of it.:blush:
post #13 of 27
Shel, it's a brand of ham, probably a Midwestern product.

OldSchool, I grew up about 85 miles east in the Quad Cities. We took a few day trips to the Amana colonies over the years. Many years later I visited with my husband and found the ham salad to be exactly what I remembered. :lips:
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post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Cook's Illustrated did a bacon testing, and while I don't consider CI the arbitor of taste, their tasters did rate Nueske's just about at the bottom of the "gourmet" bacon brands they tasted, noting that it was very smoky, or tasted like a campfire. What I gathered is that Nueske's has a very distinct flavor personality, and that some people love the intensity and others find it to be "too much." For what it's worth, CI rated Niman Ranch their top bacon, although, based on my own taste, I don't know if I'd agree, however I've tasted bacon brands that CI didn't rate.

I do like thick, center cut, lean bacon - very yummy - just enough fat but not excessively fatty. Slow baked in an oven gives me the results I prefer.

shel
post #15 of 27
Mezzaluna, I just saw your recipe and am going to make it yet this aftn. Was looking for something different to try with my lo ham. Amana Colonies, oh yes, I seem to remember their wheat beer being particularly good too!

Shel, you can also grind up some of the lo ham and combine with dill pickle relish and a bit of mayo for a sandwich filling. It's really pretty good if you stuff some good hard rolls with it, wrap them in foil and put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. For extra zip, add a bit of pickled hot peppers.

Also, I add cubed ham and sliced carrots and onion in layers with potatos and make scalloped potatoes with ham (we've always called it "ham pie").

Neuske's bacon to me is one of the best, but you're right, it's a matter of taste. In fact, I like it well enough to have sent some of their gift packs as holiday gifts.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your suggestions, bubbamom ....

I like a wide variety of pickles, so the ham thing will work very well ...

shel
post #17 of 27
I am pretty weird with my ham....not a big fan of it in some cases...in others, I love it.....I love ham for sandwiches...I usually will bust out the smoker and smoker a ham with some apple wood and that makes a great sandwich meat.
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post #18 of 27
Shel, I just re-read my response and started giggling. While you and a few others may know that I'm German-Dutch by heritage and live in Wisconsin my use of the term "good hard roll" means a roll crusty on the outside and soft and tasty inside - - and not a hard roll. :lol:

Mezz, I made the Amana ham salad yesterday and guess I expected it to gell up like sulze and was almost disappointed when it didn't. BUT then I tasted it. It's really good. Thanks for posting that recipe.
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
I didn't know about your heritage. I'm neither German, Dutch, nor do I live in Wisconsin, yet I knew exactly what you meant. How can that be :suprise:

shel (Jewish-Puerto Rican: I'm the janitor but I own the building!)
post #20 of 27

How can that be

Because, Shel, when push comes to shove you still a New Yorker at heart. And New Yorkers know what a hard roll is.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #21 of 27
Nueske's applewood smoked bacon is the best on the planet. Well thats my opinion anyway the pictures even look tasty
Nueskes - Applewood Smoked Meats: Smoked Ham, Bacon, Summer Sausage, Turkey Breast, Pork, Specialty Meats
post #22 of 27
Bubbamom, I'm glad you liked the pickled ham recipe. It's not sultzey at all! (I developed a taste for sulze from a roommate, thoroughly German heritage, from Racine.) I also remember as a young teacher people would bring in good rolls and butter for a Friday end-of-the-week treat, along with kringle. I always chose the rolls.

Your comment reminded me of a Flemish dish I was served in northern France (Douai) some years ago. The dish is called Potjevleisch. It's a jellied terrine of chicken, rabbit, duck, pork and seasonings. If you're interested I can translate the recipe for you. It's a very old, traditional dish that my Flanders/Artois cookbook says originated in Dunkerque.

Neuske's bacon is wonderful but sometimes I don't want that intensely smoky flavor. :lips: I use it in recipes but prefer something less smoky for breakfast.

Shel, I hadn't guessed the Puerto Rican part, just the other. ;) :D
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post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
My dad's grandparents were Puerto Rican Jews who emigrated to Russia just prior to the revolution (Good timing!) and then my dad's parents emigrated to the US. My mom was Italian-Jewish, having spent her early years in Pitigliano. My parents met just before WWII when my dad was selling beauty supplies and my mom was the receptionist at one of the companies he visited.

I inherited my great grandfather's mop and bucket, and started cleaning tenements on the lower east side in NYC when I was 12 years old, and by being thrifty and saving all the change I found, and with a little help from a trust fund, I was able to buy my first bulding - just a little three storey walk up - which I improved and sold for a hefty profit. That's how my real estate career took off.

Some years later I met Donald Trump. He taught me a lot more about real estate and I showed him how to use a mop and broom. Then I got into food and squandered all my money on sets of All-Clad and take-out pizza, which, in NYC, is quite delicious and addictive. I finally entered a 12-step program, kicked the pizza habit, and went organic. Shortly thereafter, I found ChefTalk - now I'm all talk and no action. I still have my All-Clad though. Donald Trump has gone on to be a TV star, and no longer talks to me.

shel
post #24 of 27
Mezz, I've never made a terrine, fact is, they kind of intimidate me. :look: I shared the Amana ham w/ my sister and she enjoyed it too! Maybe it's time I took the bull by the horns and tried a terrrine. After all, what's the worse thing that could happen?!?!?!?!?!?
post #25 of 27
When shopping for ham in various forms, pay attention to the labeling so you know how much is ham and how much is added water. Didn't good ol' Alton Brown do a show on ham content and labeling?

I still wish I could go to some market here in Salt Lake and get a nice big slab of real country ham.

As for the Amana colonies, I like sauerkraut. The restuarant where we had lunch, done in a family style, more than you can eat approach, had like half a dozen cold kraut salads and sides and about that many hot kraut dishes to accompany the breads and selection of very tasty sausages. All washed down with various varieties of Millstream ( or was it Millstone? ) beer brewed locally. Burp.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #26 of 27
Shel, what a fascinating family (and personal) story! I bet at the time you first took up that mop, you might not have believed where it would take you. The culinary side to your family story is also very intriguing.

Bubbamom, when I said "terrine" I mean that the loaf was molded in one. Potjevleisch needn't be layered and fussed over. My friend combined the ingredients and poured it all into a loaf pan (she calls hers a terrine), then chilled it and served it cold. No layering, no fussing, no hot water baths in the oven. :D As

Teamfat, I also recall Alton Brown's episode on hams. It was very instructive a person like me, who is uninformed on the subject.
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post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 



Great episode - another AB classic - informative without too much crazy stuff. Recipes and transcript can be found here: Ham I Am

shel
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