Ham is the gift that keeps on giving. After its starring role in the feast, it goes on to provide ham and bean soup, ham salad, ham casserole and other fare.
So the Easter dinner was a success. You carefully considered what to serve with ham; the wine was perfect and the cheeses perfectly complemented the baked ham. Even after enjoying the stellar ham and Swiss sandwich recipes we passed along to you, there’s enough succulent glazed leftover ham to provide a few more meals. So we’re here to help.
Ham and Bean Soup
Probably the most popular of leftover ham recipes is ham and bean soup. This is best if you have a bone-in ham, because the bone is what gives the stock body and flavor. And if you’ve prepared your ham on the grill, the stock will be even more smoky and flavorful. However, if all you have is leftover meat from a boneless or spiral-sliced ham, no problem! You can make a quick ham and bean soup by using chicken stock or vegetable stock.
You’ll want about 2 cups of meat, so make sure there’s enough on the bone. Any extra ham can be used in other recipes we’ll give you later. If you have time to plan ahead and soak them overnight, dried white beans (cannellini, Navy or Great Northern) will give you the best flavor and texture. The packaged 15-bean blends are excellent, too; feel free to toss the little seasoning packet to cut back on sodium. A good meaty ham bone will give you plenty of flavor.
Here is an excellent basic ham and bean soup recipe. A couple of variations:
- Use 3 or 4 bay leaves instead of the thyme, or use 1 or 2 bay leaves and half of the thyme;
- Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil before adding to the soup. Also, add a couple of cloves of garlic if you wish.
- For a Tuscan-style soup, add a couple of handfuls of chopped fresh kale with the rest of the vegetables. Use sage and/or rosemary to taste along with the thyme and/or bay leaves.
- Mashing some of the beans is entirely optional; many people prefer a more brothy soup with firmer beans.
Everybody knows about tuna salad; did you know you can do the same thing with ham? You’ll want the cooked ham chopped finely or ground before mixing with mayonnaise and other ingredients. A food processor or an old-fashioned meat grinder will make quick work of it. This is a terrific basic recipe from Food Network; many others (easily found on the Internet) add hard-cooked eggs.
Or if you want something that’s really more of a salad—and a full meal salad, at that—break out the veggies and toss together this gem from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
When in doubt, throw together a casserole…or if you’re from Wisconsin or Minnesota, a hot dish. In the Midwest, a casserole generally consists of leftover meat, a carbohydrate (generally pasta or potatoes) and perhaps a vegetable, bound together with a white sauce, gravy or cream soup, and either Cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese.
Most of these recipes are geared toward dinner, but many are suitable for breakfast or brunch. And this Wisconsin Cheese Strata from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is a delicious take on the classic egg bake that will help you use up that leftover ham and cheese(s) from Easter dinner.
Ham is the gift that keeps on giving. After its starring role in the feast, give it new life in the classic ham and Swiss sandwich as well as in a variety of excellent meals throughout the week.
Check out WisconsinCheeseman.com for a classic Wisconsin ham.