A two pound piece of rolled ham like the one featured on this page is fairly inexpensive to buy in comparison to many other similar sized pieces of meat and is also extremely easy and comparatively quick to cook. While it can be roasted in the oven, boiling it provides the extra benefit of some beautiful ham stock upon which to base a variety of potential soups. The quantity of meat ultimately yielded can initially be deceptive and you will find there is a lot more to go around than may first appear before it is cooked and carved.
Thick ham slice refried in spices, topped with cheese and served with spicy roast potatoes and chickpeas
Especially where you wish to make soup or anything else with the stock, it is essential the piece of ham first be steeped in cold water. Otherwise, the stock and subsequent soup will be overpoweringly salty. Add it to a large bowl and pour in enough cold water to cover. Steep in your fridge overnight. The following morning, change the water and steep for a further few hours.
Drain the second lot of water from the ham, give it a final rinse under running cold water, weigh it where possible and place it in a large soup or stock pot. A precise cooking time is calculated from the weight, representing twenty minutes per pound plus twenty additional minutes. The poaching accompaniments are almost infinitely variable but in this instance the ham and stock are given some distinctly spicy qualities.
Ham Poaching Ingredients
- 2 pounds (approximately) piece of rolled ham
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ green bell pepper
- ½ yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium red chili
- 1 medium green chili
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Seed the bell pepper halves and slice. The chilies were not seeded but simply sliced in to discs. They could be seeded if you wish to give a slightly less spicy final effect. Add the sliced peppers and chilies to the pot with the ham, along with the black peppercorns.
Pour enough cold water in to the pot to ensure the ham is comfortably covered to a depth of at least one inch. Put it on to a high heat until the water starts to simmer. This is the point from which the cooking time should be measured. Cover the pot and simmer as gently as possible for the prescribed cooking period.
Lift the cooked ham from the water with a carving fork and supporting spatula to a deep plate. Cover and allow to cool.
Give the stock an hour to partly cool. This avoids the potential of being scalded by splashes. Suspend a fine sieve over a large bowl and ladle the stock in to the sieve to strain.
The sieved stock is ready for immediate use but can alternatively be refrigerated for up to a couple of days or frozen for two to three months.
Cheesy Ham, Spicy Roast Potatoes and Curried Chickpeas Recipe
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 1 inch thick wedge of boiled and cooled ham
- 4 small to medium baby potatoes
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon medium chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Black pepper
- 8 ounce can chickpeas in water
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 or 3 slices of cheddar type cheese, as required
- Freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf) to garnish
Wash the potatoes and cut them in half. Add them to a pot of salted cold water and bring to a simmer for about twenty minutes until just cooked and no more before draining and allowing to steam off for ten minutes. Lay them in a plastic dish in a single layer and refrigerate for a minimum one hour to dry them out.
Start your oven preheating to 450F/220C/Gas Mark 8. Pour the vegetable oil in to a large glass or stone bowl and add the turmeric, chili powder and some black pepper. Stir well to evenly combine. Spoon half the mixture in to a small non-stick frying pan for later use.
Add the potato halves to the remaining spiced oil. Turn them around gently with a wooden spoon to ensure they are all evenly coated.
Lay the potatoes on a roasting tray and cook in the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. Give the tray a careful shake half way through cooking.
Pour the canned chickpeas in to a colander and rinse under running cold water.
Put the chickpeas in a pot and add the curry powder. Pour in enough cold water to comfortably cover and bring to a simmer for five minutes, just to heat through and infuse the flavor.
Cut a one inch thick wedge from the cooled ham. The remaining ham should be refrigerated until required. It can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days.
Bring the seasoned oil in the frying pan up to a pretty high heat. Put your broiler (kitchen grill) on to preheat to maximum. Fry the ham slice for two minutes each side.
Take the potatoes from the oven and transfer to a plate covered with kitchen paper for a couple of minutes to drain.
Lay the cheese slices on the ham to cover. Place the pan under your broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
With a spatula, lift the cheesy topped ham slice to the middle of a square serving plate.
Drain the chickpeas through a colander and arrange on the plate around the ham, along with the drained potatoes. Garnish with the cilantro.
Spicy Ham, Peppers and Potato Soup Recipe
This recipe is an excellent way of using up the remaining half bell peppers following the initial cooking of the ham.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
- 3 pints prepared ham stock
- Remaining half bell peppers (1 each of red, green and yellow)
- 3 medium to large baby new potatoes
- 1 cup (or as available) shredded/diced ham
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
- Salt and black pepper as/if required
Remove the seeds and membranes from the bell pepper halves and dice to about half an inch.
Wash but don't peel the potatoes and dice to around three-quarters of an inch. Don't chop any smaller or the pieces will become waterlogged and disintegrate during cooking.
Pour the stock in to your soup pot and initially add the peppers and potatoes only. Bring to a simmer for ten minutes or until the potato pieces are just starting to soften. Add the ham, stir well and simmer for five more minutes to heat through.
Stir in the cilantro. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if required prior to service.
Ham with Mustard and Dill Eggs and Deep Fried Potatoes
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 4 medium baby potatoes
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or similar mustard
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- 3 slices boiled ham
- Malt vinegar (optional)
The first step in this recipe is exactly the same as in the first recipe on this page up to the point where the potatoes have been boiled and stored in the refrigerator.
Put the eggs in to a pot of cold water and bring to a simmer for about eight minutes. Lift the pot to the sink and run in cold water until the eggs are cool enough to handle. Crack the shells and peel. Put the eggs in to a bowl along with the mustard, the dill and a little salt.
Use the back of a fork to mash the eggs and combine the mustard and dill.
Deep fry the potatoes in hot oil for about four to five minutes until nice and crisp.
Lift the potatoes to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain. Season at this stage with some salt and an optional splash or two of malt vinegar.
Spoon the egg on to a serving plate and spread it out to serve as a bed for the ham slices. Add the potatoes alongside and serve immediately.