Saturday, November 20, 2010

What to do with leftover ham.

I've spent a lot of time in grocery stores over the past few days in preparation for Thanksgiving.  I've seen hams for sale, and while turkey is a Thanksgiving tradition, I'm tempted by the ham.  If I didn't have an 18 pound bird thawing in my fridge I might just throw tradition out the window and serve ham.  I doubt that I would get any complaints from my husband.

If any of you are serving ham, you might have some left over.  "Leftover" and "ham" are two words that don't go together in my house, but I thought I'd share a recipe that uses ham steak.  It's been part of my rotation for a few years now.  I will often make this the day before cooking it.  Real Simple suggests omitting the ham if you'd like to make this a vegetarian side dish.

Cauliflower and Ham Gratin
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced (I dice, or better yet, buy a bag of frozen diced onion)
8 oz ham steak, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk (I use 1%)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (I use feta)
Kosher salt and pepper
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (I use a bag of frozen cauliflower florets)
3 tbsp bread crumbs (I omit)
8 sprigs thyme (I omit)
2 - 3 tbsp flour

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute for about 6 minutes, until softened and light golden brown.  Add the ham and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add cream, milk, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes.  I often add flour to help the mixture thicken -- probably because I use 1% milk rather than whole.  Add cauliflower and remove from heat.

Transfer to a 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with bread crumbs and thyme.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes.  Let it rest for 5 minutes or so before serving.

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