Monday, 16 April 2012
I really debated whether to post this recipe or not. I don't suppose you could really call it an English recipe . . . or can you??? hmmm . . .
The English are well known for their thrift and ingenuity when it comes to cooking, and show it off in delicious one pot meals, such as Lancashire Hot Pot, Stovies, Chicken and Mushroom Casseroles, and good old fashioned Soups and Stews, with dumplings (of course). Then there are the meat puddings and pies. Stodgy, old fashioned, rib sticking, simple and delicious.
This is along those same lines and is something that my mom always made and her mother before her. Sometimes we add ham, and sometimes we don't. It all depends on if we have any ham leftover . . . it's a great way to use leftover ham.
My ancestry is English and German on the one side, and French on the other. Perhaps this is a conglomeration of all those cultures . . . perhaps the hot pot from England got translated loosely into a potato scallop, because those were the types of things that were to hand and in abundance in the new world . . . potatoes, onions, milk . . . and then ham was something that was also common as people raised their own pigs.
I know my grandfather always smoked his own hams and made his own sausages and sauerkraut, and they were good.
This is a recipe that has been born out of thrift and ingenuity, by several generations of cooks that made do with what they had to use and like to use up what they had . . . in the most delicious way possible.
So, perhaps it's not really all that distanced from English cookery after all methinks.
In any case, this is fabulously delicious. Simple, hearty and a great way to use up leftover ham. And truth be known, if there are any leftovers (and there seldom are) it's even better for having sat a day in the fridge.
From the Big Blue Binder . . . Ham and Corn and Escalloped Potatoes. I always like to serve baked beans and a crusty loaf with this. It goes down a real treat. (Do place a baking tray underneath, just in case. If you have too much milk in it, it mightoverflow. Better safe than sorry.)
*Ham and Corn Escalloped Potatoes*
This is a really old recipe. Something that my mom always made and her mom before her. Simple and delicious.
1 tin of creamed corn (400g or 2 cups)
leftover baked ham, how much is up to you
(I like to put in about 2 layers at least, sliced into pieces about 1/3 inch thick)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into slices, again about 1/3 inch thick
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
6 ounces of milk, scalded (heat just until bubbles appear around the edges of the milk in the pan)
salt and black pepper to taste
2 TBS flour
2 TBS butter, cut into bits
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*f/ gas mark 4. Butter a 2 litre casserole dish.
Layer up everything in the casserole dish, beginning with a spoon ful of the corn on the bottom, then add 1/3 of the potatoes, half of the onion, half the flour, 1/3 of the butter, some salt and pepper to taste (remember ham is salty so don't use too much) some more creamed corn and half of the ham. Do another layer with 1/3 of the potatoes, the remaining onion, the remaining flour, 1/3 more of the butter, salt and pepper and the remainder of the ham, and half of the remaining corn. Top with a final layer of potatoes, and the rest of the corn. Season lightly and dot with the remaining butter. Pour in the milk. You may not need all of it. You just want to barely see it through the top, it should only fill the dish about 2/3 full. Cover with a lid and bake for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the casserole is golden brown. Serve hot.
I like to serve baked beans and crusty bread with this for a real down home meal.