Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ham and Potato Casserole

By Paul Briand

Apparently I wasn't alone on Monday, wondering what I was going to do with the leftover Easter ham in the refrigerator.

"Leftover ham recipes" was one of the biggest search inquiries on the web on Monday.

In a bow to a recent visit to Alabama, where everything we ate seemed to have some kind of pork associated with it, I concentrated my own search to the Southern Food section of and came with this recipe for Ham and Potato Casserole.

1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced, about 4 to 5 cups
2 cups diced ham
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half or 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
salt, to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional

1. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 325 degrees;
2. In a large saucepan, melt butter; add onion and celery and sauté until tender;
3. Add bell pepper and sauté for one minute longer;
4. Stir in flour until smooth;
5. Gradually add half-and-half, stirring constantly;
6. Add seasonings and salt to taste;
7. Continue cooking, stirring, until thickened;
8. Add sliced potatoes and diced ham and stir to combine;
9. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish;
10. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes;
11. Remove foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until potatoes are tender;
12. If desired, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the casserole and bake for a few minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.

Serves 4 to 6.
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