The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can surely take its toll. Throughout all of the planning, traveling, cooking and partying, trying to push through to the new year can be a real challenge. Usually the last week of December is spent in a daze, sifting through a cluttered house, and digging leftovers out of their zippered bags and plastic boxes while taking down the seasonal decor. We all know that those casseroles will never be as good as they were fresh from the oven, and the yeast rolls have likely hardened on the counter by now. The ham is still tasty, but just how many ham sandwiches can you eat in one week?
The simple solution for this predicament is to make deviled ham spread. I know that deviled ham hasn’t got a strong reputation, mostly because it is most well known as the strange canned meat product that collects dust on the shelves of the grocery store. But I gotta say, homemade deviled ham is delicious and easy and good enough to take to parties or share with friends and family.
This recipe works best with a good smoked city ham. Country ham could be used but should probably be supplemented with city ham, too. A city ham is a ham that has been injected or brined and then smoked or roasted. It is most commonly found in deli cases and has a mild juicy flavor. Country ham has been dry cured and aged, meaning that it has been heavily salted for a couple of weeks, and then rinsed and hung to dry for at least three months but sometimes up to four years. Country ham is more akin to prosciutto in texture an flavor and usually is best sliced very thin and served on biscuits, or with a good cheese and strong mustard.
If you find yourself lucky enough to be in possession of both styles of ham, by all means use them for this recipe, but use a ratio of 4:1, city: country. This will allow for little or no salt to taste when finishing the seasoning.
Deviled Ham Spread
1 pound ham, diced
1/2 C of good mayonnaise
2 T dijon or yellow mustard
1-2 T onion, grated or minced
2 T chopped fresh parsley
A couple of good dashes of Crystal hot sauce
2 t smoked paprika
Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it reaches the desired consistency. I like mine to be pretty smooth, but as long as all the ingredients are incorporated it can be as chunky as you’d like. Adjust seasoning to taste. If it needs more tang, try pickle juice or cider vinegar. If you like it sweeter, try a teaspoon of good sorghum. Spread it on saltines or butter crackers, toast points or crudite.
Enjoy with friends or keep it all to yourself.