Ham Sauces

The Covered Dish

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This week I have decided to take a bit of ‘turn’ in the column. To not only address a couple of easy ham sauce recipes, but to take a look at food and poverty in our
Counties. It doesn’t matter whether we live in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas or Oklahoma, for starters. It is prevalent around us every day. The question I would like to bring to the surface today is: ‘How do we address it.’
Along with my usual banter about ‘foods and recipes’.

This week our local grocery store had some absolutely phenomenal sales. Some were on chicken and ground beef, but a big one was on boneless hams. Late Saturday morning Ervin & I called his mother and step-dad to see if we could come by for Saturday evening supper. We planned on taking dinner to them, which we did. We enjoyed stuffed chicken breasts and sautéed vegetables of all kinds. It was a glorious meal and the cost for the 4 of us was around $15.00.
Once again, my father-in-law sends me a text later and says: ‘Debbie, we had a gourmet meal, at a fraction of the cost.’ Ponder that for just a moment. All we had to do was wrap the chicken in a foil pouch and bake it in the oven. Nothing added. Then I washed and sautéed vegetables, simply divine. The vegetables of choice were all vegetables which were on sale, including asparagus for 1.49 lb.
(You can freeze asparagus friends!)

Yes, yes, back to the Ham sauces. So, a few years ago I got a tip from our local grocery store, (Harter House, for Ozarkians). They shared with me the quality of the Primrose ham. It is a very tasty ham that I have served for Thanksgiving and Christmas quite a few times. Usually they are also boneless hams. This ham is ‘so’ good that it really doesn’t need a sauce. But I am going to share a couple that might be appealing to folks. I grew up on a simple raisin sauce that my mom, Betty, made from scratch. When I asked for the recipe in later years I was told there wasn’t one. You now have the raisin sauce recipe that is in my cookbooks. It is embellished a bit more than my mother’s, but quite nice. Most people today wouldn’t dream of a raisin sauce so I’ve also included another red sweet sauce to accompany ham or chicken etc.

As we enter my mother-in laws house I brought in one of the smaller hams I had purchased. I asked if they would like to keep one. Mom Annette said, no they didn’t really need a ham. By the way the ham was $2.99 a pound, boneless, no waste. I waited a few minutes and as we were talking about dinner and what we were having, I returned to the ham subject. I began to share how I like to slice the entire ham and freeze it with parchment between the groupings. I shared about how I use it instead of bacon for breakfast because it is much leaner. Mom thought about it, and says: ‘You know I believe I will take that ham!’

We can play a huge roll in poverty by educating people on how to cook. If you give someone a box of foods consider including ‘simple’ instructions. Folks today don’t cook like those who read my columns. That is where some of the problem lies. We need to educate not only those in poverty, but everyone within the community. Become vigilant on the programming available to assist those in need. Invite representatives from these community organizations to address your clubs, churches and organizations.

When ‘some’ food stamp recipients visit a grocery store they leave with foods that are not only costly, but poor in nutrition. Sometimes I want to go through the store with them a second time and teach how to spend half of the dollars and provide twice as many meals! Seriously, I can do it, and I know many of you can too.

Our seniors today ages 70’s – 80’s are a terrific resource because many went through the great depression. My mother, for example, could easily teach a class on shopping and making the monies go further. So could my 90 + friend in my hometown of Lewistown. They also have the patience to help others. So in this paragraph I am advocating for seniors and Poverty! When Covid lifts, think about bringing more of these experienced shoppers and cooks to the food pantries. Partner the senior adult with a high school student who can do all the computer work for their presentation and it becomes a win/win situation. (Honor Society students need credits for community service.) Our youth need more influence from the senior age group and vice versa. Mature adults can bring so much to the table.

I think the key word is education. Through education we can teach the entire community about the needs and how they can be a vital part in reducing poverty within their neighborhoods.

I’m getting on the phone now to call mother and see if she wants me to get her a couple of those hams before they go off sale. Just think how many meals my mom will make from an $8.00 ham!!

Improve your communities by getting involved, making a difference.
Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com

Raisin Sauce
1/2 cup raisins*
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup currant jelly or white wine
1/2 teaspoon grated, orange zest
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Dash of salt
Dash of Cinnamon or Allspice

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, salt and allspice/cinnamon; stir into orange juice mixture. Cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Serve warm over ham or pork loin. Yield: 1 cup.

For more than 2 you will truly need to double the recipe.

*If you have access to a Trader Joe’s I highly recommend their raisins!

Cherry Sauce
(Can be used hot or cold)
1 can cherry pie filling
¼ cup frozen undiluted cranberry juice concentrate
¼ teaspoon rum , or a ‘tad’ more……
OR ½ teaspoon almond flavoring

After blending all ingredients together this may be used cold for parfaits, cheesecakes, pound cakes or angel food cake. It’s good when heated for ham. This will retain the bright vibrant color needed to enhance your special dishes.

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