Wednesday, November 21, 2007

St. Mary's County Stuffed Ham (northern county style)

Today we made the northern style (boiled as apposed to southern style that is baked) Stuffed Ham. My family moved to this county in 1978 when there were mostly large, Catholic farm families. Every Thanksgiving, our local newspaper would feature a large family sitting around the kitchen table, chopping cabbage, kale and onions with knives. It was a big event.

Well, it took us an hour today to make ours, thanks to our Cuisinart 14-cup food processor! Here's my recipe:

20-25 lb corned ham
5 med heads cabbage
1 bag onions
40 oz kale
3 tblp salt
4 tblp mustard seed
2 tblp celery seed
2 tblp crushed red pepper
2 tblp black pepper
3 yards cheesecloth
Run the kale, onions and cabbage through the processor and mix in large bowls.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Don't worry about the occasional big piece of cabbage or kale.

We have two rules about making stuffed ham: First, you gotta make a mess; and secondly, your eyes gotta burn from the onions. Otherwise you're doing something wrong!
Do yourself a favor and buy your ham at McKays and let them debone it for you. Much faster and they do a better job. Lay your cheesecloth in a long strip on the counter. Then lay the ham out flat and with a good knife, make slits every inch or two. Stuff with filling. Pack it in tightly.
Pack all the filling in the middle. Then take one end and start rolling it up. You will need two or three dishtowels to collect all the juices. Since Mike is the ham expert, I just stand back and take pictures.
Pull the cheesecloth as tightly as possible to make the ham snug. It should look something like this:
Tie tightly with cotton string or twine. If you skimp here, you will pay dearly! Place ham in a 40 quart pot.

We made ours this afternoon and then put it in the refrigerator. Tonight when we get ready to go to bed, we will cover the ham with water and boil it overnight. In the morning we will turn off the flame and let the ham cool in the pot for 3 hours. Slice and eat. Yummy!

This afternoon when we finished cleaning up the ham mess, we drove down to SAYSF Bible Church to help my Dad cook for evening service. I took a pot of oyster stew. Dad made five soups: tomato, chicken noodle, ham and beans, crab, and veggie beef. They were delicious.

Dad also served a ham, a huge beef roast, and a turkey. Since we had just over 100 people, there was very little leftover. He also took pies for dessert. We really thought there wouldn't be many people, but we were wrong. Many folks brought all their company for tomorrow!

There were many hands in the kitchen today! Mike took the afternoon off and helped. We put him to work cutting all the meats.

This is Mom, Dad, and my brother Simba who always helps.

Here we are resting before the crowds came. I meant to get a picture of everyone eating, but once the first people came, it was busy time!

By the time we cleaned up the church kitchen and came home, I was exhausted. I hope I get a good night's sleep because my extended family is coming here for dinner tomorrow ~ but you wouldn't know it to see how dirty my home is!

Have a good Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. Many blessings ~ Kathie

PS ~ Today's high reached 78 degrees!

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