Friday, April 13, 2012

Country Ham, Kale, and Potato Hash

One of the perks to being a teacher is spring break.  I have been on spring break this week, and it has been fantastic.  I have gardened, I have been antiquing, I have visited several farmers' markets, cleaned...the list goes on and on.  I have not had much down time which is just the way I like it.  One thing I love about time off is being at home to make lunch for myself rather than being relegated to the position of the (dare I say it?) peanut butter and jelly sandwich eater that I am much the school week?  Yes, I do sometimes have leftovers to eat at school instead of pb&j, but even the best leftovers cannot compare with a home cooked, wholesome meal prepared at the lunch hour and eaten in peace and quiet at my own leisure. 

This recipe is a great example of one such meal.  Yesterday, I found myself in front of the computer (doing work for school) but enjoying the ability to work at my own pace when lunch time rolled around.  I had no idea what I was going to eat, so I rummaged through the pantry and the refrigerator until I came across what I thought could be the makings of a decent meal.  Well, let me tell you, it was not only decent, it was downright tasty.  

It began with diced country ham browned in a little olive oil with an onion, some garlic, and a sprinkling of red peppers flakes.  A bunch of kale was added to the mix and cooked until it was wilted.  In the meantime, a handful of creamy Yukon Gold potatoes were boiled until just tender.  Once all the components were ready, the potatoes were drained and added to the ham and kale mixture to create a sort of hash.  A sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese finished everything off nicely.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been a fried egg (sunny side up, of course) on top. I can't wait for the leftovers tomorrow!

Country Ham, Kale, and Potato Hash- serves 3-4

The ingredients and quantities in this recipe could easily be altered.  County ham is difficult find in some areas of the country.  It is salty which eliminates the need for a lot of added salt.  If country ham is not available, use regular ham but add a little more salt to compensate.  Bacon could also be used rather than the country ham (which would make it similar to Orecchiette with Kale and Bacon).  Alternately, sausage would be a delicious, but different, addition. Spinach or other greens could easily replace the kale. 

1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz diced country ham
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, torn and washed
1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled if necessary) cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 tsp salt, divided (or more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place a pot of water on high heat.  Add 1/2 tsp salt to the water along with the potatoes.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are just tender.

Once the potatoes are almost ready, heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Add the country ham and onion and cook until the onion is translucent and tender.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds more.  Add the kale and cook 1-2 minutes until the kale is wilted and almost tender.  Taste and add up to 1/2 tsp salt as needed.  Drain the pototoes and add them to the kale mixture being careful not to break them into pieces.  Stir gently to incorporate all ingredients.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Serve topped with a sprinkling of grated cheese.      

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