5 ways to use up your leftover ham

Illustration for article titled 5 ways to use up your leftover ham
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One of the most exciting things about roasting a ham is the guarantee of leftovers. I’m sure with enough training and perseverance it’s possible to finish off an entire ham in a single sitting, but outside of winning a bet, what would be the point? Each and every ham that comes into your life should be allowed to delight you in myriad ways, and we’ve got ideas for how to make the most of every morsel. No sad microwaved ham slabs for you! You deserve nothing but good things, and, as always, ham is here to help.

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Sandwiches

Anyone can make a half-assed ham and cheese sandwich, but if you put a little work into it, you can have a ham sandwich so brilliant that other, inferior ham sandwiches will tremble in its wake. A good sandwich starts with good bread, so spring for the nicest stuff at the market, or take a stab at making your own. A few slices of ham tucked into a warm sweet potato Parker House roll or herbed dinner roll straight from the oven is a beautiful thing. Pull out your best condiments, too, and if you don’t have any that feel special enough for your sandwich masterpiece, it’s easy to jazz up the ones you have: Mix a spoonful of mayo with a squirt of mustard and a teeny-tiny bit of honey. Whip up some cream cheese with chopped herbs, or some spices from your cabinet. Maybe even make this easy apple butter in the oven while you cook your ham in the first place. If you want to get even classier, try your hand at apple sweety drop mostarda—a sweet and sour condiment by way of Italy—or a spicy sweet potato chutney made with dried cherries, garam masala, and fresh ginger.

Breakfast hash

Every meal of the day is an opportunity to eat ham, and a plate of eggs and ham hash is definitely worth zooming out of bed for. Try making your hash out of leftover potato skins, or leftover French fries from last night’s takeout. There are very few rules when it comes to hash, so don’t worry about sticking to a recipe or even measuring—just chop up your ham, fry it up with some vegetables and potatoes, and do your best to be patient until it becomes extra crispy.

Quiche

When you set a homemade quiche on the table, you send a signal to the world that you’re a learned, sophisticated individual who is deserving of respect and admiration. But in fact, quiche is insanely easy to make, and it’s a highfalutin way to use up leftovers. Begin by blind-baking a pie crust (store-bought is fine), then add chopped ham, cooked vegetables, cheese, and whatever else you like. Then pour in a custard made with a ratio of one egg to one cup of milk (or half-and-half). The amount will depend on how much filling is in your quiche, so if you’re not up to estimating, whip up a cup at a time. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until it’s set but still a bit jiggly—about 40 minutes or so.

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Stuff it into bread

If you’re tired of ham sandwiches and want to go one step beyond, add that leftover ham to your baking projects. For a savory breakfast, stir a handful of chopped ham into salty honey corn muffin batter before baking. Add ham to a bowl of collards soup. If you want to have a constant supply of ham snacks to keep in the freezer in case of emergency, replace half or all of the mushrooms in this Runza recipe for chopped ham. (It’s the Hot Pocket of Nebraska!) Or, if you’re really adventurous, go hog-wild and make a loaf of stuffed gumbo bread, which will ensure that your ham reaches its full potential.

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Throw it into a casserole

Most casserole recipes are an invitation for experimentation, and when you’ve got some ham in your pocket who knows how crazy things can get? Chopped ham can replace some or all of the ground beef in Minnesotan hot dish, but taste for seasoning before you bake to make sure that the combo of ham and canned soup isn’t too salty. (If it is, add more tater tots.) Throwing some ham into a hearty Amish zucchini casserole turns it into dinner for those people who think it’s not a complete meal if there’s no meat involved.

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Allison Robicelli is a writer, recipe czar, former professional chef, author of four (quite good) books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Tweet me for recipe help: @Robicellis.

DISCUSSION

lordoftheducks
Lord of the Ducks

The most common way to use up leftover ham is eating it straight out of the fridge at any hour of the night and as a snack while deciding what non-ham thing to get out of the fridge.

Tomorrow I plan to make a big pot of potatoes, green beans, and ham. Will also make some rolls from scratch for nice comfort meal.