Easter Leftovers

After a busy weekend of hunting for Easter treats, entertaining family and friends, and preparing a big meal, the last thing you likely want to do is more.  More of anything.  But dinner awaits and standing in front of the fridge, gazing at all of the leftovers, hoping they will miraculously whip themselves together into something that passes as a meal isn’t going to help.  Do not despair.  Here, we have for you, two simple ways to use up that Easter ham staring back at you.

Market-Sourced Ingredients:

Leftover Ham from Spragg’s Meat Shop

Smoked Gouda from Sylvan Star Cheese

Edgar Farms Mustard Pickles from Innisfail Growers Co-op

Butter Lettuce from The Cucumber Man

Fig and Fennel Bread from Yum Bakery

Ham Sandwich 1

The best part about this sandwich is that it takes about five minutes to throw together, but tastes like you put a whole lot of thought and effort into it.  Start by cutting the ham into bite-sized pieces to be warmed in a pot.  This is where the sticky leftover bits of glazed ham and fatty rind really come in handy, coupled with a small splash of water, the ham will stay moist as it reheats.

Ham Sandwich 2

Lightly toast and butter the bread.  Top with the smoked gouda, mustard pickles (they’re really quite flavourful, so this is a to-taste preference), a leaf of the butter lettuce, and warmed ham.

Ham Sandwich 3

As you may suspect, this sandwich is a little on the messy side.  You could call it ‘rustic’ if you wanted to cover your bottom, but it would only be fair to warn you that it fast becomes a deconstructed sandwich.  It definitely falls into the category of being a ‘knife-and-fork-required’ kind of meal, but is that a bad thing?  You’ll be glad to have the fork to stab every delicious morsel left on your plate.  You may even lick it clean.  Just sayin’.

And if sandwiches aren’t your thing, or you’ve already had a few this week, you can use the remaining ham (and the bone) as the beginning to a number of great soups.  Making a stock is remarkably simple, and if you have a crock pot (as most Canadians do) they are beyond low maintenance.

Market-Sourced Ingredients:

Leftover Bone-In Ham from Spragg’s Meat Shop

1 bunch of Celery, a few Carrots, 1 bulb of Fennel, 1 sweet onion, 6 cloves of Garlic from Cherry Pit

3-4 Bay Leaves, Thyme, and Ancho Chile Powder from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

Salt & Pepper

Turbinado Sugar (brown or raw sugar can be substituted)

Ham Stock 1

It’s as easy as roughly chopping all of the veggies and throwing everything into a crock pot (a pot is absolutely acceptable, but a crock pot allows you to walk away and really have no worry of it boiling over and becoming a hot mess).  Add the bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon of all spices and sugar.  Cover with water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 4 hours on high, and then 6-8 hours on low.  Yes, it takes a long time, but the ham bone needs a little more love than say, turkey leftovers.  As it steeps, the stock will become richer in flavour and gain more depth.

Ham Stock 2

Taste-as-you-go is always a good rule of thumb.  When you’ve reached a spoonful that makes you say “oooh! that’s good!”,  it’s a good sign it’s done.  Let the stock cool and then strain it away from all of the veggie bits and ham bone which will be discarded.  This stock can now be used as a base for the ever-popular split pea and ham soup (like this one by our friend Julie Van Rosendaal), a veggie soup, or even when sautéing vegetables.  And it freezes well for months in a well-sealed container.

Now, how many meals did you get out of your Easter ham this year?  With such beautiful ingredients found at the market, why let it go to waste?

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