Saturday, January 3, 2015

Loafing around with leftover ham

Because I had a ham this year for the first time ever, even though I gave some away, I needed to think up interesting things to do with the leftovers (once the first little orgy of frying up pieces for breakfast and eating slices for light salad dinner had passed).
By New Year's Day there were only scraps left, so I decided to try making ham rissoles. (My family's rissole recipe is the most popular page on this blog.)
          First I ground up the ham in the processor - it came to about two and a half cups - and put it in  a big bowl. I had leftover kumara salad (with chili dressing) as well as four little boiled Jersey Benne potatoes, so I mashed all that together with an extra slug of Ruth Pretty's chili jam (made by Ali) and mixed it with the ham. I added some salt and pepper and a tablespoon of self-raising flour. Then I beat up two small eggs and stirred them in. 
          The mixture was a bit too wet, so I added a little more flour, mixing it in thoroughly.  It still seemed too damp to make successful rissoles. I could have added breadcrumbs, but if the mix has too much flour or breadcrumbs in it, the flavour goes.  So I decided to change tack and make a ham meatloaf instead. I figured it would be a bit healthier than individually fried rissoles.  (Like all enthusiastic eaters, I'd put on a bit of Christmas weight and really didn't need any more.)
           So I looked for ham loaf recipes online. It was the baking instructions I was after, rather than ingredients.  I liked the sound of one involving a pour-over liquid, so I adapted it a bit.

Baked ham loaf

Scraps of leftover ham, minced to provide at least 1 cup (for a small loaf) or up to 3 cups (larger loaf)
Cooked potato or kumara or both
Finely chopped small onion
(I had some cooked onion confit, so I used that)
Small amounts of any other veges you fancy including, e.g. cooked peas, finely chopped red pepper, sweet corn kernels
Breadcrumbs (if needed)
Flavouring - chili sauce or jam is good, but you could also use herbs/worcester sauce/mild mustard/a bit of chutney - just don't let it get too salty.
Self-raising flour
Salt and pepper (check again for saltiness before adding)
1-2 eggs (depending on quantities)

See above and also the rissole recipe for general instructions - the quantity of ham you have determines how much of the other ingredients you need - but make the mixture a little wetter than you would for rissoles.

Set oven to 180C.
Line loaf tin with baking paper.
Fill tin with loaf mixture.
Turn oven down to 170C.
Bake loaf for 30 minutes.

While loaf is baking, make pour-over liquid.
(This amount is for a loaf with 2-3 cups of minced ham.)

½ c brown sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp vinegar (preferably sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar)
2-3 Tbsps lemon juice or lime juice
¼ c water (or leftover white or red wine - this recipe is all about leftovers)

Put all ingredients into a small saucepan, bring to boil, stirring, and cook gently for 10 minutes. Pour a little into a small dish, cool it carefully, taste for flavour balance and adjust as you wish. 
When loaf has baked for 30 minutes, take it out of oven and carefully pour over enough sauce to coat the top and come a little way up the sides. Don't drown it or overflow the paper.
Return loaf to oven and bake for about another 30-40 minutes, until a thin knife or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the loaf is becoming firm to the touch. The glaze will be shiny and lightly browned on top and around the sides. 
Cool a little before turning out onto a rack in its paper, then carefully remove the paper when it's cool enough to handle.

Serve warm in slices, with chutney or relish, salad, and, if needed, bread and butter.
This keeps very well and is delicious for lunch next day - but if there are more than one or two of you, there won't be any left.

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