Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ham Casserole

This is the extra large ham that my father-in-law gave to us as we left his home in Minnesota this past holiday. He wants to give us a ham every year. One year, I am ashamed to admit, the ham only made it as far as a rest stop garbage can in Pennsylvania. This year, since the ham was recently purchased and the air was so cold the ham remained frozen for the whole trip in the car's trunk, I decided to keep it.

When I was searching for a white wine at a local liquor distributor, many of the tags on the shelves read "Good With Ham." I do not know why ham is the meat of choice around the holidays in Minnesota, but it is (maybe all the time?). No matter, I decided to cook its 11 pound ass last night.

I am a fan of ham and eat many varieties. My main complaint about this kind of ham is that it is way too salty. I washed it off and cooked it for 2.5 hours at 300 degrees even though it was 'pre-cooked.' So now the question remains, what to do with all that ham? Any ideas?

Below was my first idea. A casserole, which I am learning to appreciate. It's the meal of choice in my wife's Minnesota homeland, and I feel that the best way for me to get accustomed to casseroles is to start making my own. I even convinced myself that baked ziti is a casserole.

 Portuguese Peas, Parmigiano, and potatoes.

Olive oil underneath, sliced potatoes 1/8-inch thick, grated parmigiano.

Small chunks of ham, minced shallots.

More potatoes, then peas, cheese, and shallots. Repeat until dish is full.

On top, one last set of potato slices, cheese, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

The result was tasty, but I forgot one ingredient: funghi! Well, I think a casserole is defined by what you have on hand, and mushrooms were not. I still have 9 pounds of ham left. Now what?

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