Ham Casserole

Ham Casserole 005

Here is another simple-to-make casserole that is filling, and has a few options.

Ham Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (about 10-12 oz.) diced (leftover) ham
  • 8 oz cooked noodles or macaroni (cook as label directs, drain)
  • 5 oz. frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper(optional)
  • 2 cups milk
  • poppyseeds for garnish

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix together in a large bowl the ham, noodles and peas.
  • In saucepan cook the onion in the butter. When onion is soft, add flour, salt and both peppers. Stir to cook roux. Do not brown.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and add the milk. Return to heat and cook over medium heat until thickened.
  • Pour over ingredients in bowl, Stir together to mix well. Pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ baking pan. Sprinkle generously with poppyseeds.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. If made ahead and refrigerated, bake for 45 minutes.

First, while the ham can be leftover from another meal, I find that I can buy ham steak and generally get a couple good recipes from the steak. I try to get steaks that are about 1/4 inch thick so that the diced chunks are a good size.

Second, I have marked the cayenne pepper as optional. I really like a good shot of it in this recipe; I will use almost 1/4 teaspoon. But that might be a bit much for some people, or children, so you might want to reduce or eliminate that heat.

Finally, I added the word large to the description of the bowl in the second step of the directions. I started with too small of a bowl, and had to change midway to my large 4 quart bowl. What with the ham, noodles and peas, you need to have enough space to mix it all before putting it in the cooking pan.

When I first pulled this recipe out, I got nervous because it requires making a roux, and I have never done that. I stirred a lot of things for Marlys,- soups and rissoto, but she always made the roux. I do remember her saying a couple things about making a roux; first, the amount of flour is equal to the amount of fat, and second, you have to make certain that the flour is cooked. I must say, I was successful, and the whole operation was easier than I thought. I just didn’t rush the cooking of the flour, or the thickening of the milk.

I used Farfalle pasta- that is what I had- and the bow-ties ended up sticking up in the air so they got slightly over-cooked because they were not down in the sauce. I guess that is why the ingredients say to use noodles or macaroni; they probably lay down better.

Ham Casserole 007

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