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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leftovers by Design: Ham

I am spending more time than usual in my kitchen nowadays, as much as 10 hours a week just canning, freezing, curing, and drying food destined for storage. Despite being in the kitchen so much, I don't have a lot time or energy to cook meals, so I do what I can to prepare large batches of basics that I can reuse in meals for days to come. This week, that's meant baking a 6 lb portion of ham, several squash, and a couple sweet potatoes plus a couple bunches of chard sauteed in bacon fat for Sunday dinner. Here's how I'll get at least three more meals out of the leftovers:
  • Leftover chard and some of the ham will go into Monday's no-crust quiche.
  • The ham bone went into a pot with some water, celery ends, and chicken broth leftover from that afternoon's canning to become make broth for of a slow cooker ham and bean soup that I'll start on Tuesday morning. Monday, I soaked a double batch of white beans, so I can make a big batch of soup and pressure-can half of it (it would freeze well, too) or cook half the beans in water and use them for a bean and marinated bell pepper salad (I haven't decided which I'll do yet).
  • The leftover squash and some more ham go into a stovetop mac-and-cheese on Wednesday.
All of those meals will in turn make good leftovers themselves for lunch the next day. In fact, we find that quiche, soup, and most casseroles improve overnight. None of these secondary meals takes more than 20 minutes of prep time, leaving me with more time to make pints and pints of pickled peppers and make a batch of Wimpy's Delight (the web site should credit Helen Witty, as the recipe is copied word-for-word from her book The Fancy Pantry).

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