Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

Ham Balls

So Superbowl Sunday is coming up next week.  Granted, I am not much of a football fan.  But, I do love the parties, the people, the camaraderie ~ especially the food.  A long table filled with all kinds of yummy bite-size snacks.  A great to spend a Sunday afternoon.  There is the standard fare that you can pretty much expect ~ barbeque meatballs, little weinies, chips and dip.

However, I am offering up something a little different today ~ ham balls.  These little pork nuggets of deliciousness are easily made ahead of time and frozen until you are ready to serve them up.  Just take them out of the freezer to thaw the day before using.  When thawed, stick them in a crock pot on low a few hours before serving.

There is no need for additional salt in this recipe (all the salt comes from the ham).  The water chestnuts give each bite a delightful little crunch.  I like mine with a little spicy mustard or honey mustard, or even an aioli.  For something a little different, stuff a little chunk of Swiss cheese in the middle of the balls before baking.   Yum!

  • 1 lb lean, cooked ham
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 – 8 oz can water chestnuts
  • 5 green onions (scallions), minced
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 tsp horseradish
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a food processor, add the ham and water chestnuts.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Remove to a mixing bowl.

To the ham mixture, add the ground pork, green onions, pepper, eggs, and horseradish.  Mix well.

Form into uniform sized balls and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.

The nice thing about this appetizer is that you do not have to cook a big ham to do this.  Just pick up a pound of your favorite ham at the grocer or deli ~ I do recommend smoked ham though. The smoked ham adds such a delicious smoky flavor to the balls.  I used leftover ham in mine because I actually just grilled a ham (see Wham Day Ham).

On a side note ~ my husband called in from the fish house (just put it out a couple hours ago).  He took some of the ham balls and he and his buddy have declared these “damn good’ ~ and they did not take any sauce with them. Good without sauce ~ I am going to take this as a success!


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As an indicator of how ready I am for Spring, I scraped the snow and ice off my Weber grill today! Sure, it is cold and very windy, but I need to grill something!  When I opened my freezer, right in front was a big ham.  The ham said, well Jill, it sure seems like a good day for Wham Day Ham (not really, but if it could talk…).  So, if I am going to start the grill in the middle of January, I am going to do something big (not like a little burger)!  Ham it is!

This is really one of my favorites (as well as my husband’s, neighbors’ and friends’).  You start with a ham, add charcoal, beer and apple wood and ta dah ~ you have a double smoked ham steamed with beer!  Well, maybe not that simple, but pretty close!

The Wham Day came from the very first time I made ham this way (oh, well over a decade ago).  It was myself, my little sister, my buddy Kev and my dad.  It was a day of celebrating, it was Spring and there was wine. Lots of wine and lots of ham!  Hence, Wham Day! (get it? wine+ham=wham).  Okay, maybe it was funnier when I was in college.

So here I am with a stocking cap and gloves on, in my winter coat trying to get the grill started in the wind.  Ah, success!  Here is how you do this.  Doesn’t it look mouth watering?

I'm hungry ~ let's eat!

What you need:

  • 1 kettle grill (standard, 22 inches across)
  • Charcoal and a starter chimney
  • 1 disposable aluminum 1/2 pan (I use this because sticking your good pans in the charcoal lends to a very short life for them)
  • 1 ham, already smoked once from the butcher or grocer
  • 2 beers (darker beer = more flavor)
  • Apple wood chips (soaking in water for at least 30 minutes)

Apple wood soaking in water

Starting the charcoal (see my pup in the background?)

The set-up (I only had light beer, bummer)

Adding the apple wood, the beginning...

How it is done:

  • Fill the charcoal starter chimney with charcoal and start with your preferred method.  My grill actually has an electric starter with propane to get the charcoal lit, but the chimney works great with newspaper and a match.
  • When the charcoal is going, place the aluminum pan in the center of the grill on the charcoal grate, not the cooking grate.
  • Pour the lit charcoal on both sides of the pan.  Add a few unlit charcoal briquettes to the top of the lit coals.
  • Pour the beer in the pan.
  • Place  cooking grate in the grill and set the ham in the middle over the pan, fat side up.
  • Squeeze some of the apple chips of excess water and place directly on the coals ~ a couple handfuls for each side.
  • Cover the grill.  Wait until you don’t see any smoke coming out of the grill then add more wood chips.  I do this at least 3 times during the cooking process.  I have the grate where the sides flip up allowing for easy addition of additional briquettes or smoking chips.
  • At 20 degrees F, this took 2 1/2  hours. When the weather is more temperate, it takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Fresh off the grill!

Sliced after "resting" 10 minutes

I cannot tell you how incredibly delicious this ham is!  It might look a little burned, but trust me, it is not ~ that is just a little smoky crust on the ham fat (which my husband thinks is the best part but I keep hearing his heart going “help me!”).  The apple wood lends a sweet smokiness, the beer adds rich juiciness not found in a ham that you just roast in the over or in a slow cooker.  Believe me, the extra effort is worth it! Your family will thank you!  This ham would be a delightful addition to any family gathering!

On a side note ~ I am a big believer in charcoal over gas grills.  Yes, it takes practice.  But, remember, grilling is not just for sunny, warm days!  Your grill will work just wonderfully in mid-Winter!

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I am so ready for spring!  Granted, this has not been the worst or snowiest or coldest winter we have had.  But it has been pretty dull – ice fishing has been close to non-existent, no snow for cross country skiing.  It has just not been the best winter!

I am looking forward to my morning walks as the earth comes back to life, watching the birds pair up and build nests, the green grass peeking through the brown remnants from winter, the tulips and crocuses sprouting up for early blooms, and of course, the fresh wild mushrooms.  Yes, I am ready for spring.  Ready to get back in the garden,to get dirty and muddy digging in the dirt, planting seeds with the anticipation of picking a a fresh salad or fresh veggies for dinner.  There is nothing better!  Soon, I keep telling myself, soon!

So, something a little lighter tonight.  This is a simple and fast recipe.  I love ginger with carrots, and  it also compliments the pork.  I usually buy a big ginger root from the produce department and store it in a airtight container in my freezer.  When I need fresh ginger, I take it out of the freezer for about 5 minutes, peel a little knob with a carrot peeler, and grate the frozen ginger with my microplane (which by the way is one of my favorite kitchen tools!).  Then I throw the ginger root back in the freezer for next time!  This works great and I know because I have been using ginger this way for at least a decade!

Anyway, there is not much of a story behind this one, only that I like it and it is easy.  I made it a lot when I was in college.  It makes a little pork go a long way in terms of serving portions so it is really kind of a budget meal as well.  I could see it served with crispy won ton skins crumbled on top, but alas, I did not have any on hand.

  • 8 oz boneless pork, trimmed of fat and cut into thin strips
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp fresh grated ginger (alternately, you can substitute 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ginger powder)
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1 c fresh snow peas
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 TB fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 12 oz dry linguine

Cook linguine according to package instructions.  In the last 3 minutes of cooking time for the pasta, add sliced carrots to the water and cook with the pasta.  Drain and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, ground coriander and pepper. Add pork strips and toss to combine.  Let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes.

In a skillet, heat 1 TB oil over medium low heat.  Add eggs.  You basically just want them cooked through in a round patty kind of thing – not scrambled.  Transfer eggs to a cutting board and cut into strips, about 1/4 inch wide or so (I just rolled mine out of the pan and sliced), Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 TB oil over medium high heat.  Add pork strips with seasoning/marinade and stir fry until slightly browned. Add mushrooms, snow peas and scallions and cook until peas are tender.

Add pasta, carrots and egg strips to the skillet, toss to combine and just heat until the noodles and carrots are heated through.  Toss in cilantro and serve.

And then at this point, I realized I was out of cilantro!  Arrgh!  It was still very delicious but, the cilantro adds a little something to the dish.  Of course, some people don’t care for cilantro and if that is your case, then just substitute fresh parsley (which I had to do here).  Also, bean sprouts would be great here but I did not have any on hand.

Please enjoy and save a buck in the process!

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So the winter bug is going around.  Everyone at my house is feeling a little under the weather today ~ sore throat, achy.  You know the feeling.  So we were looking for something warm and comforting.  This is the result.  Enjoy!  We did.   Made us all feel a little better…

1 lb beef, diced into bite size pieces

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c diced sweet bell pepper (I used red)

2 TB olive oil

2 tsp bouquet garni herb blend

4 c beef broth

28 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid

8 to 11 oz rinsed lentils, depending on how think you want your soup (I used red but any will do)

2 TB fresh parsley, minced

  • Heat oil in heavy pot.  Add beef and season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of each).  Brown beef, remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add carrots, celery, onions, bell pepper, bouquet garni and garlic.  Saute` until the onions are translucent.
  • Return beef to the pot, add tomatoes, beef broth and lentils.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until lentils and vegetables are tender ~ about an hour or so.
  • Stir in fresh parsley.  Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve.  I topped mine with a little diced Havarti cheese.

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Antelope Burgers

1 pound ground antelope meat (there should be little to no fat)

2 TB grated onion

1 tsp salt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup light sour cream or plain fat free yogurt

  • Mix well and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Form into 4 burger patties.  If you slightly indent them in the middle, they should remain a consistent thickness while grilling or searing.
  • Grill the burger patties 3-4 minutes a side.
  • Pick your favorite cheese (I used muenster here).  When the burgers are almost done, add the cheese to melt slightly.
  • While the burgers are cooking, (by the way, these burgers should be cooked medium to medium well), cut and toast the buns you made earlier.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings.  I elected spicy brown mustard, mayo and spinach.  And of course, a pickle! I also added a few grape tomatoes and oven roasted potato wedges.   It was sooooo good!

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