Anything But the Book Week: MEAT

January 24, 2009 at 1:30 pm (Anything But the Book Week)

Vegetarians, I suggest you avert your eyes.  Today’s post is for the carnivores.  Specifically, the carnivores who happen to be good cooks.

The resident organist and I, along with another household, subscribe to a meat share project.  This is related to community-sponsored agriculture in that we pay a set amount, and once a month we get a lot of meat.  

There are a number of advantages to this: locally-farmed meat, for a decent price, and in a variety of kinds ranging from ground chuck to prime cuts.  However, that variety is sometimes a little puzzling, partly because I’m not a very experienced chef.   I know what to do with sausage or ground beef, and I can put most of the simpler cuts to good use.  But I’m also having to search for new recipes to use the meat that we have.  I don’t want to ruin a good piece of meat by treating it like something it isn’t (e.g., braising when I should grill, or vice versa).  So over the last year, I’ve learned how to roast a whole chicken (and turn it into stock), prepare a decent pan sauce, and determine what cuts are best for the stick-it-in-the-slow-cooker-and-forget-about-it school of cookery.

All that is a lead-up to saying this: We have a large ham.  Not a BRIAN BLESSED type Large Ham, but a slab of smoked ham in the freezer.  It’s smoked but uncooked — says so on the label — so I don’t think I can just chop it up and, say, toss it with some fettucini and peas.  It’s not a large spiral-cut ham or anything like that, but just an inch-thick slab of ham with a nice layer of fat around the edge.

I have no idea what to do with it.  (Apart from carrying it around so that I can leap into conversations demanding “Did somebody order a LARGE HAM???”)  Does anyone know what to do with uncooked smoked ham?  I don’t even know where to start looking, since I’m not entirely sure what I have.

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8 Comments

  1. Auntie Lou said,

    Ask your mother.

  2. Auntie Lou said,

    That’s what I’d do.

  3. Mom said,

    I have had an experience with such a piece of ham (maybe 1/2 inch thick) where the response was to heat it up, find a plate or platter big enough to hold it without too much falling off the edge, and serve it as the entre at a local fraternal organization (involving large anthers) meal. However, I do have some more reasonable suggestions. While checking out slow cooker meals to enliven a cold and snowy Indiana January, I came across a couple of meals that use smoked pork chops. If you divide the slice into serving portions, I think you can use the ham for either a red beans and rice dish or a French split pea soup. Let me know if you want the recipes. By the way, I also can offer a recipe for Dublin coddle, essentially bacon, sausages, and potatoes slow cooked in beer. Definitely a mid-winter dish – perhaps appearing at our house for the Superbowl.

    • mlronald said,

      Aunt Lou, sage advice, and I’m sorry I didn’t do so sooner. (Hey, but at least I got to use the TV Tropes link for Large Ham.)

      Mom, I think you’re right about the slow cooker — maybe red beans and rice? Send the recipe along, please. And though I can hear my arteries protesting already, send the recipe for coddle as well. (This is the soup that was pretty much slightly thinned gravy with meat in it, right? Ooog tasty.)

  4. Anu3bis said,

    Ah, what you have there is a ham steak. Tradition requires red-eye gravy.

    http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1627,156190-244197,00.html

    • mlronald said,

      Coffee.

      Coffee in the gravy.

      I’m all for alternate caffeine delivery systems, but I dunno, man…

  5. mattybyloos said,

    Just did a post today on community sponsored agriculture.

    http://www.organiceatingdaily.com

    And as a carnivore who tried being a vegetarian for a little over a year, I loved your post.

    Consider bbq-ing the ham. Put it in a roasting pan, cover it, put the bbq heat on around the pan but not under it, glaze it with some organic maple syrup and go to town. Maybe I’ll try to post a full recipe soon…

    • mlronald said,

      Ooo. That sounds really good. Sadly, the ham is no more, but if we end up with another one, I may consider that.

      And thank you for the link! It’s interesting to read about community-sponsored agriculture on the other side of the country — particularly at this time of year, when the cold, gray yuck outside makes me very envious of southern California.

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