I wasn’t happy last week. The threat of dangerous roads from San Antonio led our company to cancel its trip down for “Christmas In Goliad,” so there I sat with a fridge full of food and no one to cook for.
I had cooked a big ham for the church ladies’ Christmas party last week, so on the menu was scalloped potatoes with ham, using the leftovers. Our church party turned out quite nice and I thank all those who worked so hard putting up the decorations and making the Parish Hall look so pretty. I just wish a few more ladies would have ventured forth for the party as we had good fellowship and good food. Maybe next year.
I do love ham, though, especially at Christmas. And with ham, I have to have a raisin sauce. My aim is to make the sauce taste like the juice from spiced peaches. With the leftover ham, I made scalloped potatoes, which Bil loves. I try to make them like his mom did and am mostly successful with that.
With the ham bone, I intend to make split pea soup this week.
Raisin Sauce for Ham
• 2½ cups apple cider (or apple juice)
• ½ cup orange juice
• 1 cup golden raisins
• 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
• 3 heaping tablespoons orange marmalade
• pinch of cloves
• 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
• cornstarch/water slurry
• In a medium sauce pan, pour in the apple cider and orange juice.
• Add the raisins and bring to a low boil.
• Let boil for a few minutes to start plumping up the raisins.
• Add the brown sugar and orange marmalade and cook a few minutes more.
• Add the cloves and vinegar.
• Taste and adjust to your liking.
• Stir together a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch and thin with water.
• Add in half of this and bring the sauce to a boil.
• If it needs to be thickened more, add more of the slurry until you get it the thickness you like.
Cook’s notes: Never add dry cornstarch to hot liquids. You will only get little white specks in everything. Cornstarch thickens at the boiling point, so boil the sauce before adding more slurry. Remember, the sauce will also thicken some when it cools.
Ham Scalloped Potatoes
• 4 medium russet potatoes
• ¼ cup flour
• 1 cup half & half
• 2 cups whole milk
• 2 cups ham, cut in chunks
• salt and pepper
• Peel and rinse potatoes.
• Cut into very thin slices. (I used a mandolin cutter for that.)
• Put potato slices in a bowl and sprinkle on the flour.
• Stir to coat the potatoes as much as possible.
• Transfer the potatoes into a buttered or Pam-sprayed 9x13 pan.
• Pour on the milks.
• Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Add ham.
• Slightly stir it so all the potatoes are covered with liquid.
• Dot with butter, if desired.
• Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.
Cook’s notes: I liked the thickness of this when it was done, but Bil said there should be more sauce around the potatoes, so next time I may add one more cup of half and half. I’ll get it like his mom’s eventually, I hope.