Dr Pepper Glazed Ham

Dr Pepper ham

Got family (or friends that are family) coming for a festive dinner?  Or just a Sunday cook up?  This ham is always moist, juicy and so delicious.  As much as the kids love chicken, when this is on the menu also, they return for more ham!

Ingredients

  • One 10-pound, bone-in smoked ham, skin removed and fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
  • 3 cups Dr Pepper (not diet)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325° and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Set the smoked ham in a large roasting pan. Score a 1/4-inch-deep crosshatch pattern into the fat at 2-inch intervals. Pour 2 cups of the Dr Pepper and the 2 cups of water into the pan and roast the ham for about 2 1/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham registers 120°. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, simmer the prunes in the remaining 1 cup of Dr Pepper until they are plump and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prunes to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Whisk the mustard, brown sugar and vinegar into the liquid in the saucepan and boil until very thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

Step 3

Drizzle the syrupy glaze over the ham and roast until glossy, 20 minutes. Carefully transfer the ham to a cutting board.

Step 4

Pour the pan juices into the saucepan and spoon off the fat. Boil the sauce until reduced to 2 cups, 10 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and the prunes and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce until thickened, 2 minutes. Slice the ham and serve with the Dr Pepper sauce.

Note:  I have a mustard sauce I’ve been making for years, which I also make and combine it with this sauce …. that is the key to having lots of juicy, tasty sauce to drizzle over.

Kathy’s Mustard Sauce:

  1. 1/3 cup white vinegar
  2. 1/3 cup white sugar
  3. 1 tbsp dry mustard powder
  4. 1 tbsp butter
  5. 1 beaten egg, set aside.

In small sauce pan bring vinegar, sugar, mustard and butter to a boil.  Remove from heat and EVER SO SLOWLY drizzle into the beaten egg, whisking as you go.  When it is all incorporated, return to the heat and stir as it thickens.  Remove from heat, and stir into the Dr. Pepper sauce.

Dr Pepper ham 2

Another bonus to this recipe?  Today we had a smaller group so I bought a double smoked boneless ham and cooked it at 275 until the internal temperature was 120.  Carried on with the rest of the recipe, and it was perfect.

Years ago Rob and Mandy gave us a subscription for Food and Wine Magazine … this recipe is from those issues, and I know the ham is a fave in their home too!

Portugese Stew With Pork and Clams

I haven’t been to Portugal, but I sure do want to!  This aromatic braise melds fields, land and sea, in the most satisfying way.  Grab some crusty bread and you’ve got a fantastic meal.

Portugese stew 2

I had a few of these adorable baby Yukon golds at hand, along with some bell peppers that went in also ….. after all, a stew is intended to help you clean out the fridge!

  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Pimentón de la Vera dulce (or your favourite paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium-size (9-ounce) yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock or lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
  • 2 pounds Manila clams or cockles, scrubbed
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges and crusty bread, for serving

How to Make It

Step 1

Season pork all over with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and place in a large ziplock plastic bag. Smash 3 garlic cloves, and add to bag with wine, bay leaves, and Pimentón. Seal and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove pork from marinade, and pat dry. Remove and discard garlic and bay leaves; reserve remaining marinade. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add half of pork, and cook, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate. Repeat with remaining half of pork. Chop remaining 3 garlic cloves, and add to Dutch oven with onion and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; cook, stirring often, until golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, red pepper, and reserved marinade

Step 3

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring often, 3 minutes. Return cooked pork to Dutch oven; stir in 1 cup stock until pork is mostly submerged. Cover and bake in preheated oven until pork is fork-tender, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Step 4

Stir in potatoes and remaining 1 cup stock. Cover and bake until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Step 5

Transfer Dutch oven to stovetop over high, and add clams. Cover and cook until clams open, 3 to 5 minutes. (Remove and discard any unopened clams.) Season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.

bread

My “no knead” bread was a gift with this stew, the perfect combo!

Make Ahead

Pork may be prepared through step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before proceeding with step 4.

Suggested Pairing

Robust Portuguese red.
Portugese stew 3

If you should be lucky enough, you will have friends with an amazing bonfire pit to sit around and enjoy your stew, dunking the crusty bread and sipping your beverage of choice.

I spotted this recipe just as we finished making our own Paprika – grilling or smoking, then drying a variety of peppers before grinding them up to enjoy all winter.  This was featured in Food and Wine Magazine, and I’ve copied it exactly as written.  On this particular day we were eating it the same day, so I had to skip the lengthy marinade, and just carried on as it is written, stirring the onions and garlic together after browning the pork.  Everything went into the oven and it wasn’t long before the most magical aroma was filling the house.  We then carted it off, with the bread, to enjoy at our friend’s house with a bonfire.

Beef Stroganoff

Stroganoff 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds beef stew meat, in bite size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I keep a tube of tomato paste in the fridge – so useful)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup fresh herbs (parsley, chives, oregano)

 

  • 12 ounces broad egg noodles – cooked according to package directions

(you could use any noodle really, but egg noodles are traditional with stroganoff)

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine flour with salt and pepper.  Lightly coat beef pieces in seasoned flour (I like to put it all in a bag and give the beef a good shake).  Reserve seasoned flour.

Heat oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the cooking vessel) in Dutch oven (or any heavy bottom pot with a good fitting lid.  When oil is just starting to shimmer add beef pieces.  Don’t overcrowd the pan or the meat will steam instead of getting a light crust.  You may have to do this in batches.

Set browned meat aside and if needed, add a bit more oil to the pot;  saute onions, garlic & mushrooms.  Once the vegetables have softened add 2 tbsp of the seasoned flour mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Combine beef broth, tomato paste, dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce and pour into pot.  Stir gently to release any bits from the pan and allow sauce to thicken …. then add the beef back in.  Stir to combine.

Slow roast at 325 for 1 1/2 hours, until the beef is fork tender.  (This is pretty forgiving … don’t have that long?  Go for 350 for an hour.

 

 

Lemony Greek Chicken Thighs

Greek chicken 4

So delicious – olives, caper berries, sweet onions and tender chicken thighs …… you will be licking the pan, at least Leah did!

This is one of those “guideline” recipes.  I’m going to go ahead and give some amounts, but feel free to adjust to whatever you have on hand, or whatever your taste buds are asking for!

  • vegetable or peanut oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 large lemon, halved, then sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed lightly then halved
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives (I used kalamata, stuffed green & caper berries)
  • 2 tbsp of sliced sun dried tomatoes
  • generous handful of minced herbs (today I used parsley, oregano & thyme)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Splash of good dry white wine

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Bring cast iron skillet up to a moderate temperature, add just enough neutral oil to generously coat the pan.  As soon as it starts to shimmer, add chicken thighs. Try not to overcrowd the pan as you want to get a nice sear on the chicken pieces.

Turn once they release easily from the skillet.  Once the second side has seared, remove from the heat.

To the same pan, add a splash of white wine and the onions, garlic, lemon & sun dried tomatoes.  Saute until the onion is translucent and just starting to soften.  Add the herbs and nestle the chicken back into the skillet.  Scatter olive mixture in amongst the chicken and put the whole skillet into an oven at 375 for 30 minutes.  Watch carefully and if you think the chicken is browning too quickly – cover with tinfoil so it cooks through.

Remove from heat, if desired finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a splash of your best olive oil.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup

During the cold of winter these vegetables are always available, and make the most comforting winter dinner.  When summer vegetables arrive however, with fresh new potatoes, leeks and fennel from your own garden or farmers market, this soup is the perfect meal on a cool, rainy spring – early summer night.

Roasted potato Fennel Soup 10

I love rich, creamy soups, but what I really love …. is the toppings.  Every pureed soup needs something to create texture and bacon with fresh herbs does the job.

  • 4 pounds red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp  freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced leek
  • 3 cups sliced fennel bulb
  • 3 quarts chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 cup cream (omit if you want it to be vegan)

GARNISH

  • fresh chopped chives, parsley, basil and fennel fronds
  • crispy bacon bits

Preheat oven to 400

In large bowl toss the potatoes with olive, garlic, salt and pepper.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 1

New potatoes, tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Yum whatever you do wth them!

Spread on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through.  (use 2 sheets if necessary, you don’t want them crowded)

Saute onions, fennel and leek with 2 tbsp olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat until translucent. (I like to cook my bacon in the pot first in order to use the fat …. but for vegan or vegetarian options just omit the bacon and it’s fat).

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 3

Season every step of the way!

Add chicken or vegetable stock to onion mixture and bring it to a boil. Add roasted potatoes, turn to a gentle simmer and cook until all vegetables are soft.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 5

Puree until all vegetables are creamy … this is the point to add fresh minced herbs and the cream, if using.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 7

Taste, and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 6

Mince up a handful of fresh herbs …. 

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 9

Toss the herbs in and stir well with the blended soup.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 2

Prep your garnish … today I liked the idea of crunchy bacon (well honestly most soups love crunchy bacon) … as well as chives, basil and fennel fronds.

 

Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts

These chicken breasts will convince you that a quick delicious meal can be on your table in 20-30 minutes.  In the time this takes to roast you can have some rice made and vegetables sautéed for a complete dinner.

Chicken breast 2

These chicken breasts were so moist that the juices just glistened.

JUICY CHICKEN BREASTS – super easy, super quick and delicious!

  • Always season your chicken breast, not just salt and pepper but choose your favorite spices and herbs. Make sure to pat the chicken dry first before seasoning because moisture causes steam which will prevent your chicken from browning.
  • Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of fat like olive oil or butter. Chicken breasts need some fat to keep them juicy and flavorful.
  • If you’ve got the time, brine your chicken for 2 to 4 hours in a solution made with water, salt and other things you may prefer like soy sauce or beer. Basic brine ratio is 1 tbsp salt to 1 cup of water.
  • Baking time can vary depending on the thickness of the breasts, so invest in an instant read thermometer for best results. Cooking time is generally 20 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 165 F degrees.
  • It’s important to take it out of the oven right then and allow it to rest for all those juices to evenly distribute throughout the chicken breast.
  • Save the pan drippings and use them to drizzle over the chicken for extra flavor!
Chicken Breast

I used paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasonings as well as salt and pepper.  The secret is to use way more seasoning than you think you will need, and top with a pat of butter.  That butter seeps down into the chicken and also helps to create those delicious pan juices.

I don’t usually love plain chicken breasts without stuffing, or crispy skin but these breasts are so moist and delicious I loved them, and so will you.  I found this recipe on “Jo Cooks” and couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was for this amount of flavour.

Beef Rouladen

European heritage means we’ve eaten our fair share of Rouladen.  Growing up we always thought we were Austrian German, but it turns out there is more Romanian heritage in us than we thought.  And, of course throw in an Irish Nana and and English Granddad and you have the Heinz 57 of DNA.

Rouladen 4

I used to always put carrot in with the pickles in the rouladen, but Grant doesn’t like either pickles or cooked carrots ….. sigh.  I love the flavour though, so compromised by only putting pickle in the roll up, and nestling carrots in with the gravy.  Total win win.

Ingredients

Rouladen:

  • 4 boneless round steaks very thin, about 4 inches wider x 7 inches long (often you can actually find a rouladen cut ready made)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • 4 Tbsp whole grain mustard or Dijon, regular yellow mustard
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 4 baby dill pickles halved or larger dill pickles quartered. Sweet pickle is also an option here.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. If you weren’t able to find preprepared meat, then prep the rouladen by pounding out the beef until they are 1/4 inch thin and about 5 inches wide by 9 inches long. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of paprika. Spread 1 Tbsp of whole grain mustard over each of the 4 pieces of beef. Place two pieces of bacon over each piece of beef, side by side, trimming any part of the bacon that extend over the ends. Scatter each with diced onion, dividing evenly between the four pieces. With the widest end of the short side facing you, place two pickle halves end to end about 1 1/2 inches from the end. It’s ok if they stick out the side at this point. Take the end closest to you and fold it up and over the pickles. Continue rolling by lifting and rolling until it is completely rolled. Take a skewer and secure the end of the roll to the main part of the roll, so it doesn’t unroll. Trim any excess pickle sticking out the sides so it is even with the sides of the roll. Roll up the remaining beef pieces similarly.
Rouladen 2

They already look good ….. you could use more pickle in these, but as I mentioned, it isn’t Grant’s favourite, so this worked out fine.

Rouladen 1

Assembly line!

 

Gravy:

  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp red wine can omit or replace with a couple of teaspoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste or ketchup, in a pinch
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard or regular mustard
  • Pinch paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Stir together the gravy ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
Rouladen 3

All rolled up and ready for browning before a low slow oven roast.  Be prepared for your house to smell amazing.

Method:

  1. In a Dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed, oven-proof dish with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef rolls to the pan, skewer/seam side down. Sear for a few minutes until lightly browned, then flip over and sear the other side. Place the rolls on their sides if necessary to sear the entire outside of each of the rolls.
  2. Once rolls are browned, add the prepared gravy mixture to the pan. Stir gently to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover pot and place in the preheated oven.
  3. Cook, covered in the oven until tender, about 1 – 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your rolls), flipping rolls over a couple of times during the cooking period.

To thicken gravy:

  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  1. Remove pot from oven and use tongs to remove rolls to a plate. Carefully remove the skewers from the rolls and discard, then cover plate loosely with foil while you thicken the gravy.
  2. Place pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and add to liquid in pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, until thickened. If necessary, add a bit more cornstarch/water to gravy if not thick enough. Taste gravy and add additional salt, pepper and paprika, to taste.
  3. To serve, cut rolls in half diagonally in the middle. Place halves on side mashed potatoes and spoon gravy over-top. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Rouladen used to be a meal on a regular rotation in our house, but somehow I got away from it.  This long, unrelenting winter had me craving it all over again, but I couldn’t find our family recipe …eek.  Thank goodness I found this one from “Seasons and Suppers” which was the closest I could find to the way I remembered doing it.  So glad I did, it was delicious.  We served it with mashed potatoes, but it works equally well with broad egg noodles ….anything to soak up that luscious gravy.