Tag Archives: Ham

Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

When do you find yourself reaching for comfort food?  Is it when you are tired or stressed, when the weather is cold and gray, when you aren’t feeling well?  For us, it is really all of the above.  This past week has been a little stressful and rather tiring.  The weather hasn’t been the greatest and I have been fighting a cold.  Luckily, when all of those unfortunate things converge in the space of one week, there is this casserole to make things seem much brighter.

Simple but good quality ingredients

There is nothing fancy about this dish.  It doesn’t use any fancy ingredients, nothing special in the prep, and it doesn’t really even look all that pretty.  However, it tastes really, really good.  It is warm and hearty fare that is great for any time of day.  It makes a nice brunch dish, since much of it can be prepared ahead of time, great as left overs for lunch, and of course, the best comfort food ever for dinner.

Bake sans parmesan and panko layers

To really make this dish stand out, make sure to use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on.  Choose really good ham, flavorful cheese, and potatoes as fresh as you can get them.  When the casserole comes out of the oven all brown and crunchy on top, loaded with ham, and dripping with melted cheese, you won’t be sorry.

Golden brown and delicious

Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

Recipe adapted from Marc’s Italian neighbor growing up, Maria Paolucci

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb all purpose potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

1 tbls bacon fat (or butter or cooking oil)

8 oz smoked ham steak

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 small sweet onion, finely diced

8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

4 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded

1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

To Make:

Scrub potatoes and quarter them (if you have potatoes with tender skins, leave them on, otherwise peel them).  Place potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover by about an inch and bring to a boil.  Boil until tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet and melt the bacon fat.  Add the ham steak and heat until cooked through.  Remove the ham steak from the pan and transfer to a cutting board to cut into bite size pieces.  Add the onions to the juices left in the pan and cook on low until lightly browned (or turn off the heat in the pan and let the onion brown from the residual heat).

Preheat the oven to 450F.  When the potatoes are ready, strain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter and mash until very smooth.  Fold in the Monterey Jack and Gruyère cheeses, along with the ham, onion, and eggs.  Grease a 2-qt baking dish (lard works well) and spread the mixture evenly in the dish.  Top with bread crumbs in one layer and then parmesan in a second layer.  Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese bubbles up on the sides. 

To Serve:

Serve hot and enjoy.  Serves 3-4 as a main course, 6-8 as a side.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Recipes, Side Dish

Ham and Swiss Strata

Ham and Swiss Strata

Breakfast for dinner.  My husband likes to tell me stories about how in his fraternity house, they would have the cook prepare breakfast for lunch every Wednesday.  From my perspective, this is about the only of his college traditions that is worth keeping alive. 

Egg Mixture

Strata Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

While we often whip up pancakes or omlettes for a quick meal, occasionally we want something a little different.  If you have never had strata before, you are missing out.  A good strata is like the best parts of an omlet and bread pudding, mixed together into one savory dish.  You can put just about anything in it (we used ham, swiss cheese, and green onions in this incarnation), it uses bread that probably wouldn’t get eaten otherwise, and best of all, it has to be made in advance.  This makes it a very versatile dish that works equally well for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Layer 1 of the Strata

Ham and Swiss Strata

Ingredients:

4-5 cups bread (preferably bread that is slightly stale), cubed into bite size pieces

5 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

4 oz swiss cheese, shredded

3 scallions, finely chopped

1 smoked ham steak, cooked and diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbls fresh parsley, chopped

To Make:

Grease an 8″x8″ glass baking dish.  Spread about 1/2 of the bread into the dish.  Sprinkle the bread with the diced ham steak, the scallions and 3/4 of the shredded cheese.  Add the other half of the bread cubes.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs.  Add in the milk, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over night.  Once or twice while the strata is chilling, gently push down on the bread cubes to make sure they of them soak up the egg mixture.

When you are ready to bake, place the strata in a preheated 325 degree oven.  Cook until the eggs are just set and the top is golden brown and slightly puffed, about 60-65 minutes.  Sprinkle with additional fresh chopped parsley if desired.

To Serve:

Serve this either warm or room temperature.  Serves 4-6.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Recipes