Six Ways to Make a Tasty New Meal Out of Leftover Ham
Serving a whole ham, whether it's for a holiday or just a regular family dinner, almost inevitably leaves you with a substantial amount of leftovers. If you still have plenty of ham in your fridge after you've all eaten your fair share of ham sandwiches and ham with eggs for breakfast, turn to these six recipes and transform those leftovers into delicious new meals. Most take advantage of ham's natural affinity with cheese, mushrooms and green vegetables, but all are adaptable to incorporate other leftovers and family-favorite ingredients of your choice.
1. Ham and Cheese Turnovers
Use sheets of frozen puff pastry or make your own shortcrust pastry for these rich turnovers filled with ham and cheese. You can slice or dice the ham and any cheese of your choosing, perhaps sharp cheddar, piquant pepper jack or oozy brie. Optionally include other fillings too, such as caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, cooked broccoli or baby spinach. For individual-sized turnovers, cut squares of pastry; spoon the filling into the middle, and fold in half along the diagonal. Alternatively, make long, rectangular turnovers for slicing, starting with larger sheets of pastry and folding along the center. Brush with egg wash; bake, and enjoy.
2. BBQ Ham Kabobs
Create skewers of cubed leftover ham: Brush them with your favorite barbecue sauce, and either grill or broil them until they're hot and slightly charred around the edges. Because the ham is already cooked, it only takes a matter of minutes for the kabobs to be done. Alternate ham with other skewer-able ingredients, such as pineapple chunks, thick slices of onion or bell peppers, or cubes of zucchini. If your ham is already sliced, cut the slices into inch-wide strips and skewer them with accordion-style folds.
3. Ham and Mushroom Risotto
Diced ham, mushrooms, onions and garlic are all you need, along with arborio rice and stock, to make a tasty risotto. Saute the ham and veggies first. Then set aside the cooked, garlicky ham, mushrooms and onions while you prepare the rice.
Stir raw arborio rice around the pan for a few minutes to pick up the flavors left behind. Add hot stock, a ladle-full at a time, and simmer the rice, stirring fairly frequently until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this until the rice is plump and cooked, and then return the other ingredients to the pan. An optional handful of Parmesan and fresh parsley gives the dish a great finish.
4. Deviled Ham
Deviled ham is an old-fashioned favorite for spreading on toast or crackers, inside sandwiches or on top of a baked potato. The recipe requires just a few ingredients: cream cheese, mayonnaise, minced raw onion or scallions, Worcestershire sauce and mustard, plus leftover ham. Other seasonings you might want to add include black pepper, garlic powder, hot sauce, and fresh or dried herbs such as parsley and tarragon. Blitz everything in a food processor until the ham is finely chopped and blended with the other ingredients.
5. Ham and Corn Fritters
A super-easy way to make delicious ham and corn fritters starts with your favorite breakfast pancake recipe, minus any sweetener. If it's a just-add-water boxed mix, the fritters take only minutes to prepare, and are also quick to cook. Simply prepare pancake batter and add in diced leftover ham and corn, either from a can, thawed frozen corn or fresh off the cob. Add ground black pepper too. Fry large spoonfuls of the fritters in hot oil, making them approximately the size of coasters. The fritters are delicious as a snack, lunch—or with a side of vegetables or salad, a full dinner.
6. Ham, Beans and Greens Soup
The classic combination of ham, beans and green leafy vegetables combine to make a hearty, flavorful soup. White beans and navy beans both work well, and the leafy greens could be spinach, kale, collards or chard. Start by sauteing diced carrots, celery, onions and minced garlic. Throw in diced ham (including the ham bone if you have it) and chicken stock, plus cooked beans from a can or dried beans that have been soaked overnight. Simmer the soup for 1 to 2 hours for dried beans, or 30 to 60 minutes for canned. Throw shredded greens in to wilt just before you serve the soup.
Joanne Thomas has worked as a writer and editor for print and online publications since 2004. As a specialist in all things food and drink, she has penned pieces for Livestrong, Robert Mondavi and Modern Mom, among other names. She found her first jobs in a series of kitchens before moving on to celebrate food via the written word. Thomas resides in California and holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Bristol, U.K.