Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Deviled Ham

I'm glad to be starting the new year with my new meat grinder. This was supposed to be an enamled cast-iron saute pan, but some of you may recall that when we went to the mall outside Annapolis to purchase the pan, the Le Creuset outlet was no longer there. We stumbled into a Pro Bass Shop and found an incredible array of meat grinders and sausage making tools. This became my mother-in-law's Christmas gift to me.

That's a roundabout intro to deviled ham, which enters the picture because of the many mini-sandwiches we made for a recent cocktail buffet. We had approximately one-third of a spiral-cut ham left over, plus all kinds of trimmings. It was time to do something with that ham before it spoiled. I planned to freeze most of it and turn the bone into a soup. What to do with the trimmings?

One of the preserving texts we keep on the kitchen counter suggested potted ham. A little more work than I cared for at the moment, stuffing the ham into jars, covering with clarified butter and all. But a close cousin--deviled ham--just might do the trick.

I confess, I am not all that familiar with deviled ham. I have memories of an exotic canned good wrapped in brown paper high on the grocery shelf, a sandwich spread that never found its way into our shopping cart. We were more of a tuna salad family. In fact, I had no idea what was in deviled ham until today. I did some snooping around my cookbook collection and the internet. Here's the recipe I made for myself, using a meat grinder instead of a food processor to do the blending:

2 cups roughly chopped processed ham

1 large shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

generous pinch red pepper flakes

small handful roughly chopped parsley leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Mix everything in a bowl, then run through a meat grinder (a food processor will also do, pulsing several times to the desired consistency). Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

I tried this on a cracker and it seemed a little dry but the flavor was just what I was looking for. Should I add some mayo? I wondered. Somehow mayonnaise seemed too predictable, too easy. I poured a small glass of Sauvignon blanc wine to wash down my deviled ham cracker and was immediately struck by how well the two went together. Dryness problem solved: I simply mixed about 1/4 cup of the wine into the deviled ham. Perfect.

Spread this on crackers, small biscuits, toast. It would also make a delicious sandwich with a very thin slice of sweet onion and a few leaves of watercress.

6 comments:

foodperson said...

I guess my mother liked deviled ham, perhaps even thought of it as something special, because she bought it only occasionally (she was nothing if not thrifty). I was never too happy to see her bring out that itty-bitty paper-wrapped can, which meant lunch would be a thin coat of the oddly textured (to my mind) and suspicious tasting stuff which bore little resemble to ham. I've never eaten it since childhood. Your sounds tastier. Thanks for resurrecting a memory of my late mother. Happy new year, Ed.

Kevin said...

Ed,
Sounds delicious. I'll have to try it. And congrats on the meat grinder. Did you see my recipe for lamb sausage? I'm rather proud of it and Biggles suggestion to add a bit of citrus seems dead on.

David Hall said...

Nice meat grinder! And nice post, I love devilling foodstuffs.

Happy New Year, all the best for 2008

Cheers
David

Ramona said...

Now that's a new kitchen toy I'd love to have! I'll bet your devilled ham beats Hormel anyday! Where did you get the meat grinder?

Ed Bruske said...

Janet, I don't think we ever ate any of that Underwood deviled ham. Not once. But I was certainly intrigued by the packaging and the devil on the label. Underwood, it turns out, was a Brit, and one of the first people ever to start a commercial canning business. He made a fortune selling to the Union troops in the Civil War. Worth checking the website for the story.

Kevin, I hope you will be reporting on your lamb sausages at some point. I'm hoping to start some some making of my own very soon.

David, you have such a homey touch on your blog. Nice reading...

Ramona, if you are at all interested in grinders and sausage stuffers, check out The Sausage Maker website. I was surprised by the huge selection at Pro Bass Shop, where I got this grinder.

Mommy2Angels said...

How Fun!!! I received a meat grinder for Christmas and never would have thought to do this with it. My family is also a Tuna family (even though I don't join them). Maybe I can turn them around with this wonderful ham. Thanks for the insights! :-)