Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Picnic Ham for a Connecticut Yankee in the South

Our local grocery stores are suddenly full of picnic hams! This Connecticut girl is thrilled! I grew up eating picnic hams. A New England boiled dinner of picnic ham, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots was the meal I made for my first "dinner party" in my tiny first apartment with the 6' x 3' kitchen!

A picnic ham is a pork shoulder, smoked to make it taste like ham. It may also be called a "daisy ham," but I remember that Daisy was the brand name of a boneless picnic ham roll available in the 1970s, though I haven't found confirmation of that memory yet.

So what did we do with picnic ham this week? We're getting multiple meals out of it. It may be a cheap piece of meat with a good deal of bone and fat to throw away, but it is inexpensive and flavorful and goes a long way.

  1. Rinse off the picnic ham to remove any residual bone "saw dust."
  2. Place in a covered roaster.
  3. Pour in water to about 1 inch deep.
  4. Cover and roast at 350°F for 25-30 minutes a pound.
That's all there is to it.

Meal #1: Freshly cut ham, warm from the oven, a frozen veggie.
Meal #2: Left over ham, nuked with red potatoes
Meat for meal #3: Awaiting its turn in the freezer
Meal #4 with enough left over for lunch: Pea soup

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Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.