HAMMING IT UP FOR GREY CUP
A tasty bunwich with some homemade side dishes will serve football fans well this weekend
The Grey Cup takes place Sunday and many football fans will have friends over to watch the game. If you are planning to do that and have not yet strategized what you’ll feed your sure-to-be-hungry-group, add this meal idea to your playbook.
I’ve come up with a very tasty, hearty and not-too-difficult-to-prepare bunwich you could serve. The star of this hand-held meal is succulent baked ham and uses a product sold at most supermarkets. Ham comes from the back leg of the pig and often is cut into the shank portion, the lower part of the leg, and the hip or butt portion, the upper part of the leg. You can use either for today’s recipe, but I find the shank portion is easier to carve.
These hams are sold fully cooked and all you have to do is heat them up. While doing that, in the last half of the baking process, I brushed the ham with a root-beer glaze giving the smoky ham a sweet and spicy taste balanced by tart cider vinegar and other accents.
Once baked, the ham develops a lovely, sticky crust and when sliced and piled into buns, tastes divine, complemented by a cou- ple of condiments.
One was a quick-to-make mayonnaise flavoured with Dijon, honey and a touch of garlic. I felt I needed something to slather on the buns before setting in the ham.
My other condiment was overnight-pickled red cabbage. The resulting pickle is a crisp, sweet and sour, stunningly purple/red condiment. Mound it on top of the ham in the bunwich and it will pair nicely with the salty, smoky taste of the meat.
I felt my bunwiches needed at least one side dish: creamy potato salad. I used a mix of different coloured miniature new potatoes. That gave the salad a little more life visually.
The ham should yield 12 to 16 bunwiches.
Root Beer Glazed Baked
Root beer anchors the glaze that coats the smoky ham as it bakes. Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 2 hours Makes: 12 to 16 bunwiches 7 to 8 lb (3 to 3.6 kg) shank or butt portion ham
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) root beer 1/2 cup (125 mL) chili sauce (see Note) 1/4 cup (60 mL) golden brown sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch 1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce Hot pepper sauce to taste 12 to 16 crusty hamburger or kaiser buns, split and warmed Dijon Honey Mayo, to taste (see recipe) 2 cups (500 mL) shredded head or leaf lettuce, or to taste Overnight Pickled Red Cabbage, to taste (see recipe)
Preheat the oven 325 F (160 C). Trim the ham of any tough outer skin. Use a sharp knife to score the top and sides of the ham in a diamond pattern, making shallow, criss-crossing cuts about 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm) apart.
Set the ham in a shallow-sided roasting pan. Bake the ham, uncovered, 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, make glaze by placing the root beer, chili sauce, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce in a small pot. Whisk well to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer 1 minute, until lightly thickened, and then remove from the heat and reserve until needed.
When the ham has baked 60 minutes, baste the top, front and sides with 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the glaze. Bake ham 20 minutes more. Baste with 1/2 cup (125 mL) more of the glaze and bake another 20 minutes. Baste with 1/2 cup (125 mL) more glaze and bake 20 minutes more, or until the ham is richly coloured and piping hot in the centre.
Transfer the ham to a serving platter, tent with foil, rest 15 minutes, and then slice and arrange on a serving platter. Warm remaining root beer glaze and drizzle over ham. Allow your guests to make their own bunwiches, piling the meat into the buns and accenting it with the Dijon honey mayo, lettuce and pickled cabbage.
Note: The chili sauce used in this recipe is the sweet and tangy kind made by companies such as Heinz. You’ll find it in the aisle ketchup is sold.
This crisp, sweet and sour cabbage needs an overnight soak in the refrigerator to develop its flavour. It pairs nicely with the salty, smoky taste of the ham.
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus soaking time Cooking time: A few minutes Makes: About 12 to 16 condiment-sized servings 6 cups (1.5 l) thinly shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 small to medium head) 1 cup (250 mL) cider vinegar 1/2 cup (125 mL) apple juice 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed golden brown sugar 3 tbsp (45 mL) whole grain Dijon mustard 1 tbsp (15 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) dried thyme
Pack cabbage in a tall jar or narrow, tall bowl. Place the vinegar, apple juice, sugar, mustard, salt and thyme in a small pot and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, or until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over cabbage. Push on cabbage with the tip of spoon to ensure the vinegar mixture submerges it. Cool cabbage to room temperature. Cover, refrigerate and let cabbage soak in the brine overnight. Enjoy the next day with the ham.
Dijon Honey Mayo
Here’s an easy-to-make, flavoured mayonnaise that goes great with the ham. Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: None Makes: About 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) 1 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise 2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard 2 tbsp (30 mL) honey
1 small garlic clove, minced 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) paprika
Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Cover and refrigerate mayo until needed. Can be made many hours in advance of using.
Creamy Mixed Miniature Potato Salad
The miniature — about one- to two-in (2.5- to 5-cm) round — new potatoes are available at most supermarkets. Use a mix of them in this creamy version of potato salad flavoured with tangy mustard, and flecked with bits of vegetables and hard-cooked egg. Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: About 20 minutes Makes: 12 servings 3 lb (1.5 kg) miniature new potatoes
2/3 cup (160 mL) mayonnaise
1/4 cup (60 mL) sour cream
3 tbsp (45 mL) cider vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) grated carrot 4 green onions, thinly sliced Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Splashes of Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco 3 large hard-boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
Wash potatoes well, but do not peel. Cut potatoes into quarters and then place in a pot. Cover with cold water. Boil until just tender, but still holding their shape, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well, place in a bowl and cool to room temperature.
Now mix in the remaining ingredients, reserving a few of the green onions for sprinkling on the salad just before serving. Cover and refrigerate salad until needed. Salad can be made a few hours before needed. When ready to serve, sprinkle with remaining green onions and enjoy.
ERIC AKIS IS THE AUTHOR OF THE HARDCOVER BOOK EVERYONE CAN COOK
This smoky ham gets its sweet and spicy taste partly from a root beerbased glaze.
Succulent, root beer glazed ham piled in buns with pickled red cabbage and a flavoured mayo make for a decent game meal.