Posts Tagged 'ham'

Croque Monsieur

Croque mr

Croque Monsieur

I had my first Croque Monsieur when I lived in France during culinary school. To this day it has remained my favorite sandwich.

Basically, a Croque Monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. But the French have elevated what would be a simple sandwich into a work of art! A classic ham and cheese is slathered with a béchamel sauce to make it even more indulgent.

The key to a good Croque Monsieur is the ingredients. Since the ingredients are few, you need to use good ones. Traditionally, a nutty Gruyère or Swiss Emmental cheese is used. Most markets carry these cheeses, but in a pinch, a good Swiss cheese could be substituted. As for the ham, this sandwich is a wonderful way to use up the leftovers from your Christmas baked ham.

The béchamel sauce is what makes this sandwich. Considered a “mother” sauce in French cuisine, a béchamel is very simple to prepare. Butter and flour are cooked together over low heat before milk and cheese are added to make this traditional cheese sauce. Thanks to the cheesy goodness that the sauce adds, it really is a knife-and-fork kind of sandwich.

This classic French treat is perfect for supper, lunch or a weekend brunch. They are so rich, serve them simply with a salad or soup. However you choose to serve them, I bet they will become your family’s favorite ham-and-cheese sandwich too.

Croque Monsieur

Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white sandwich bread, lightly toasted
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 pound baked ham, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. When the butter starts to foam, add the flour. Cook, whisking until thickened, about 1 minute. While continuing to whisk, gradually add the milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the nutmeg, Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of the Gruyere. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

To assemble the sandwiches, place 4 slices of the toasted bread on a baking sheet. Lightly brush each of the slices with 1 tablespoon of mustard. Top each with 1/4 of the ham and 1/8 of the remaining Gruyere (about 1/4 cup). Top each with one of the remaining toasted bread slices. Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the tops of the sandwiches and sprinkle each with 1/4 of the remaining Gruyere. Transfer to the oven and bake until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Variation: Feeling indulgent? Top your Croque Monsieur with a fried egg and you will be enjoying a treat the French call a Croque Madame.

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits with Honey-Baked Ham

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits with Honey-Baked Ham

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 pound honey-baked ham, sliced

To make the biscuits:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until coarse crumbs form, about 30 to 45 seconds.

Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. Add the cheese to the dough and mix only until roughly combined.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead gently until well combined, about 5 or 6 times. Pat out dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using 3-inch-diameter cookie cutter, cut out biscuits. Gather scraps, pat out to 3/4-inch thickness and cut additional biscuits.

Place biscuits on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the beaten egg. Bake until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through, about 18 to 22 minutes.

To assemble the sandwiches:

Cut the ham slices into pieces slightly larger than the biscuits. Using a sharp bread knife, split the biscuits. Fill each biscuit with 1 or 2 pieces of the ham to make a sandwich. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 biscuits.

Cooking Tip: Don’t feel like cutting out the biscuits? No worries. This recipe also works for drop biscuits. Just scoop about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the dough, roll into a ball, lightly press to flatten, and bake as directed above.

 

 

Apricot-Dijon Glazed Ham

IMG_8632

I have to admit. For years, I would buy a pre-cooked Honey-Baked Ham.  I assumed that baking my own ham would be too much work.

Then last Easter, I decided to give it a try.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find it was so easy!

The simple but tasty glaze uses two ingredients I always have on hand – Dijon mustard and Apricot Preserves.

My family loved it so much, I now make it year round!

Couple of tricks to success:

  • Don’t be tempted to buy an already cut (spiral cut) ham. They may be convenient for cutting, but dry out really easily when heated.
  • Remove the ham from the refrigerator (still wrapped) a couple of hours before you intend to cook it so that it can get closer to room temperature before re-heating.
  • Do not score the meat itself, just the fat and any skin. When basting, be sure to try to get some glaze in the scores.
  • The rule of thumb is to bake the ham for 20 minutes per pound.

Enjoy!

Apricot-Dijon Glazed Ham

1 (5 to 6 lb.) cooked bone-in ham (shank or rump portion)
1/3 cup French’s® Dijon Mustard
3/4 cup apricot preserves

Score the ham and place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours or until internal temperature of 140°F.

Combine the mustard and apricot preserves in small saucepan. Stir and warm over medium heat until melted and smooth.

Transfer 1/2 cup of the mixture to a small bowl to glaze ham. Set aside the saucepan with the remaining mixture.

Baste the glaze often on the ham during the last 30 minutes of baking. Serve additional glaze on the side.

Serves 12.


Chicken Cordon Bleu

I always tell people …  even though I’m a Cordon Bleu  trained chef, I am a mom first.  I deal with the same challenges of trying to put a delicious, home-cooked dinner on the table after a long day at work or an afternoon of driving the kids around.

I wrote my cookbook Simply Suppers to make dinner time easier. I wanted to show people that preparing a homemade meal doesn’t have to be stressful.

This cheesy stuffed chicken breast sounds and looks fancy, but in reality, it’s a cinch to make at home. And best of all, it is a tasty dish that my whole family enjoys.

This is the basic cooking technique for stuffing a chicken breast.  Experiment with some of your favorite ingredients. For an Italian twist, I like to substitute prosciutto, spinach, and mozzarella.   Spicy Pepper Jack cheese adds a fun kick to this dish.  For an even crunchier (and more savory) coating, try substituting crushed French’s French Fried Onions for the bread crumbs.

Whether following the recipe as listed below or making your own variation, this simple dish will be sure to make the folks at your dinner table think you are a Cordon Bleu trained chef!

Chicken Cordon Bleu
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to grease the pan
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 thin slices baked ham

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken in between 2 pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Generously season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. On each breast, layer 2 slices of cheese and 1 slice of ham. Tightly roll up each breast and secure with a toothpick. Drizzle the breasts lightly with olive oil and roll them in the bread crumbs to lightly, but evenly, coat. Place the chicken, seam side down, into the prepared baking dish and transfer to the oven. Bake until browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes. To serve, remove the toothpicks and slice crosswise. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

Do Ahead: The chicken can be prepped the night before, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, and refrigerated. This dish also freezes well; thaw before baking.

Freezes well.


Jennifer Chandler

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