Super Bowl LV week has arrived in all its glory and, despite the American national religion of watching football not being one of my favorite ways to worship, I’m thinking this year might be different. During the nearly year of Covid-Life, we’ve missed a lot of our regular activities and that’s hurt; we’re shell-shocked across the board. But Super Bowl, the game’s yearly high holiday, will be mostly like it always has been. Not much has changed, hmmm? We’ll be at home gathered around the altar of the BIG TV. Cases of communion beer will be bought and stored in a cold garage; chili or pulled pork could be bubbling in the slow cooker to feed all who come; and tall bags of chips with deep vats of dips might triumphantly work to knock last month’s healthy New Year’s resolutions right into the gutter. There will, as always, be Monday morning hangovers for the Monday morning quarterbacks and, hard as it is to imagine, we’ll then soon be on to March Madness. But in the meantime, it’s life as usual and thank goodness! Even for the unenthused like me, it’s time to get ready for the game, prepare for the halftime show, and plan SUPER BOWL FOOD— everything from endless apps to favorite mains and football-shaped desserts! This year, I might even have a little bit different plan for that meal:
Funny you should ask!!! It’s Baked ham! There’s nothing quite so holiday-ish and it doesn’t take much more than sliding that piece of meat right into the oven for a couple of hours. And instead of 300-600 calories for the ubiquitous Super Bowl (3–and you know you’d eat more than that) chicken wings or double slice of pepperoni, look here:
Sliced Baked Ham–Cook’s Baked Ham, 1 Thick slice 3/8″ thick •Carbs: 0g •Fat: 5g •Protein: 14g: 108 calories
Not only is a baked ham a lower-fat and calorie alternative to run-of-the-mill gameday fare, it’s just a darned nice and not too expensive of a thing to have around. I bought my quality ham during December, albeit somewhat on sale, and was thrilled with its frugal $2.49 per pound. People also LOVE it. A 10-pound bone-in ham (called a “1/2” ham) and a big basket of rolls and croissants! or bread will easily provide 15+ servings with sides and dessert. Don’t forget 2 or 3 kinds of mustard, mayo, butter, chutney, various pickles, onions, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, lots of cheese, and all the things that make a super ham sandwich. Since we’re in a time of just-your-family, only you, or parties-of-two gatherings, a ham could take care of Super Bowl halftime and go on to feed you (all of you) for the rest of the week and longer if you freeze it and/or its hambone –which you’ll for sure want to do. Omelets, frittatas, quiches, pizzas, fried rice, stir fries, lentil/ bean/split pea soups, ham and beans (my recipe is included below after the ham recipe), stews, scalloped potatoes with ham, breakfast casseroles, green beans, ham and cheese quesadillas, and ham or cobb salads top the list of what to do with leftover ham. You can think of lots more, I’d guess. Scroll down for more ideas under MORE INFO THAN YOU WANTED.
If you’re searching for an easier Super Bowl Sunday, cook the ham a day or two in advance, and then serve it cold — or make the Ham and Beans and then just heat them right before halftime. Fresh cornbread would round out that meal happily.
HAM TIPS: If sodium is an issue for you, you might want to prepare a fresh ham instead. (Call around or order fresh hams ahead; they can be hard to find.) When you buy your ham, make sure there’s no water added. Skip the pre-glazed varieties and definitely get a ham with a bone. Need to freeze some of yours? Read up here: CAN YOU FREEZE HAM?/SOUTHERN LIVING
I HOPE YOU’LL CONSIDER HAMMING IT UP FOR GRINS AND GIGGLES (I know) whether you’re two people or six. I include a link or two about making a slow cooker ham under “More Info Than You Wanted” and while I use a similar technique if I’m making lots of different things for a party, I like to use the oven when there’s time and that’s all I’m cooking. Here’s my easy oven recipe for the ham followed by next day Ham and Beans; I hope you’ll try this:
Baked Ham with Mustard-Maple Glaze
- Roasting pan (or very large, heavy and deep-sided casserole dish) and foil
- 10- pound bone-in fully cooked 1/2 ham
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Pinch EACH: salt, pepper, and ground cayenne
- 1-2 tablespoons water – enough to make a smooth sauce
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Move an oven rack to the lower 1/3 of the oven. Place ham fat side up on rack in roasting pan and wrap tightly in foil. Bake for an hour.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the ingredients for the glaze adding enough water to make a smooth, pourable sauce.
- After an hour, remove roaster from the oven and carefully take the foil off the ham. (Unnecessary, but if you’d like, slice a shallow, 1/4-1/2-inch deep, diamond pattern into the fat cap of an unsliced ham — not spiral — before adding glaze.) Pour or brush glaze evenly over ham. Wrap again tightly in foil and return to oven.
- Cook another hour or more until instant read thermometer reads 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t overbake. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before carving (if needed—spiral hams are presliced) and serving.
- STORAGE: Ham will keep about 4 days well-wrapped in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer. If you slice off all of the meat from the bone and use or freeze it, you can freeze the bone separately and well-wrapped until you need it for beans or soup.
HAM AND BEANS
- 2 pounds white navy or northern beans-washed and picked over. Soak overnight in water to cover plus two inches or boil for 2 minutes and rest, covered, for an hour.
- Hambone with some ham OR 2 cups diced ham to be added later
- 3 quarts of water – or more as needed as beans cook
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt-plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper-plus more to taste
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 1 each: celery stalk and large carrot, cut into small dice
- 3 whole cloves of garlic-peeled
- Handful minced fresh parsley
- Hot sauce – optional and to taste
- Red wine vinegar – optional for garnish when serving
- Drain beans in sink. Return to 10-12-quart pot; add 3 quarts water (You will probably need to add more as the beans cook), salt, pepper, bay leaves, onions, celery, carrot and garlic. You can add a meaty hambone here or later add 2 cups of diced ham. Cover, set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook an hour, stirring regularly and skimming away scum that comes to the top.
- Remove hambone, cool briefly, trim off bits of ham, return them to the beans, and discard hambone. (Or add 2 cups diced ham.) Stir in the handful of minced fresh parsley, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer once more, and let cook, stirring regularly, until beans are tender and creamy—perhaps another hour. Add more water as needed to keep the beans in a barely brothy bath as they simmer. Taste broth and beans; season as needed. Add a few shakes of Tabasco to taste, if using.
- Serve hot seasoned with a drizzle of red wine vinegar if you like. Fresh cornbread and butter is a tasty accompaniment.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days including the day the ham is baked or frozen in tightly covered containers 4-6 months.
If you still want pizza and wings, etcetera, make them yourself for health and wealth. Here are a few ideas:
Want to lower alcohol consumption without giving it up totally? Try my Margarita Sangria, which includes a hydrating top-off of club soda to offset the booze.
MORE INFO THAN YOU WANTED:
Super Bowl 2021: A casual fan’s guide to Super Bowl LV if you don’t know Tom Brady from Greg Brady/CBSSPORTS.COM (When, where, and all the details you need including halftime is at approximately 8pm ET.)
LIFE GOES ON:
I continue to thoroughly enjoy cooking from @inagarten’s newest book, MODERN COMFORT FOOD. Thanks, Ina!! Friday, for Date Night, we had “Crispy Chicken with Lemon Orzo,” which was simple, tasty-tasty-tasty, and didn’t take long at all. The chicken (boneless breasts with skin — I used bone-in) was perfect–cooked to a crispy “T,” though I only wish I’d done the called-for 4 pieces instead of 2! The lemony orzo would, I think be a nice tool in your arsenal of easy and flexible sides. It called for feta and I had none; I subbed sliced kalamata olives, which worked fine. I sautéed shallots, golden raisins, garlic, and quartered Brussels sprouts for our veg after finding the spinach I thought I was cooking had turned to…. ewwwwwww…… slime. Happens to the best of us 😉 I was happy to see the combination worked well as I’m all about a one-dish dinner.
And…when I checked the internet to see if by chance the recipe was posted somewhere as we just don’t type out recipes from other peoples’ cookbooks; it was there! See link in above paragraph. But this video came up, too. It’s a hoot of fun. Don’t miss Jennifer w/Ina making the same dish I did. Weird how food brings us together in all kinds of ways, isn’t it?
Early Friday morning, I made what we used to call “French” (some people said “Dutch” — which was probably German) Apple Pie for Dave. I tweaked it thoroughly and might blog it if I can capture the recipe efficiently. That means if I can remember how I made it.
The moon, caught here cockeyed and poorly with my iPhone, has been a stunning and arresting visual in the eastern skies at night and in the western skies come morning. Are you seeing it wherever you are?
While SB isn’t my favorite event of the year, this time I’m looking forward to it a little bit just because it is ritual or routine in our lives and we so need that. We do. What do you think???
Bake a ham as long as there’s at least one of you! You can share leftovers with neighbors, make ham and beans or ham and cheese omelets, and freeze some for late February bean soups, quesadillas, and breakfast casseroles. How about Saturday morning ham and eggs?
Thanks so for reading. Watch the skies,
below: I snapped this just down the road from our house — Pike’s Peak with the snow falling from the hanging clouds.