The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘swansons unsalted chicken stock’

The Gift of Christmas Ham that Kept on Giving

In General Articles on December 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Christmas has come and gone, but the remains of the ham are still with us. Thanks to the kindness of our friend Rita, we found ourselves with a 12 pound Schaller & Weber bone–in smoked ham for Christmas.  Originally we had planned on a prime rib roast for Christmas dinner, but the receipt of the unexpected ham necessitated a new game plan. The Roasted Rosemary Potatoes would still work, but the ham, which would be baked with an orange-honey-brown sugar-mustard glaze called out for Dorothea’s Asparagus Tips as the green vegetable, rather than the originally planned Brussel Sprouts Roasted with Hazelnuts.

I was assigned ham duty and my wife took on responsibility for the asparagus and potatoes. The ham proved to be delicious and moist, unlike last year’s spiral cut ham, which became dried out as the interior was exposed to too much heat. Spiral cut hams are a great convenience, particularly for a buffet where each guest can cut off his or her own portion. But on balance, I think a whole uncut ham is superior in flavor and the carving is not all that difficult.

There were only six of us for Christmas dinner, so needless to say there were plenty of leftovers in the ham department. Big Mike always said, the best parts of a smoked ham are the leftovers and the ham bone. He loved frying up the ham for breakfast, which we did in his honor, on two mornings: fried ham and fried eggs the first day and then a ham and cheese omelet a few days later. Then the decision, what to do with the ham bone, which he usually employed in his favorite, Split Pea Soup. But a check of the pantry revealed a 2 pound bag of black beans, and a search of the refrigerator uncovered a package of Spanish Chorizos. With those ingredients readily available, it was not hard to envision a big batch of Black Bean Soup .

After a consulting Cook’s Illustrated.com for the basics on Black Bean Soup, I deleted some ingredients, salt (I figured the ham had plenty of salt), baking soda and cornstarch and added some others, jalapenos, chorizos and rum. I also adapted the proportions of vegetables to my personal taste. Most importantly, I conducted a research of chicken stock at our local supermarket. To my amazement, the quantity of sodium in each brand available on the shelf varied from a low of 150 mg per 240 ml (1 cup) for Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock to over 900 mg per 240 ml for the store brand private label. According to Please, Don’t Pass the Salt! Blog, Swanson’s Unsalted Chicken Stock contains 13%  lower sodium – 130 mg per cup, but Swanson’s was not available on the supermarket shelf that day.

So from the gift of Christmas ham, not only did we have a memorable Christmas dinner but managed to eke out about 6 quarts of soup, breakfast meat for two mornings and still have  a half pound of ham leftover for sandwiches. Thanks Rita!

Stuffed Artichokes

In Recipes, Vegetables on November 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Preparation time, 20 minutes; cooking time 45 to 55 minutes.

Ingredients:

3 artichokes
1 cup of Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Locatelli Romano cheese
2 tbsps. + 1 tsp. of finely chopped garlic
¼ cup of chopped parsley
½ tsp. black pepper
12 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 2 lemons

Preparation:

1.    With a sharp knife, cut off the top 1 to 1&1/2 inches of each artichoke.
2.    Remove the outer bottom leaves and snip off all points of the other leaves with kitchen shears.
3.    Remove the stems, cut off the bottom 1/2 inch and peel and slice them lengthwise into quarters or thirds, depending on thickness.
4.    In a mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs, cheese, 2 tablespoons of garlic, parsley and pepper and mix well.
5.    Pull back the leaves of each artichoke and drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil into the leaves of each.
6.    With a teaspoon, add the breadcrumb mixture to each leaf.
7.    Insert sliced stems into center.

Stuffed Artichokes Ready for the Pot

8.    Place stuffed artichokes in a 5 quart pot with a cover and add the chicken stock, white wine, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of garlic.
9.    Cover pot and bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and steam the artichokes covered for 45 to 55 minutes, until leaves are easily removed from the artichoke.

Stuffed Artichokes Ready to Eat

10.    Serve immediately.

Please watch video on How to Eat an Artichoke , but with our recipe there is no dipping required. Also see: A Pre-Thanksgiving Meal.

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