Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Deconstructed Jambalaya Ham in a Dutch Oven

My father-in-law bought us a ham for Christmas dinner, and I was contemplating how to make it.  I’ve got a lot of ham recipes already, and I was tempted to just do one of those again.  But, I also thought about doing it differently.

To get some ideas, I browsed the web.  As I was doing a search, I saw a recipe for a jambalaya with ham chunks in it.  I looked it over, and thought I could deconstruct it.

“Deconstruction” is an interesting process that has gotten a lot of attention in the food world in the last few years.  The idea is that you begin with an idea for a well-known dish, then in your mind you separate out the ingredients one from another.  Then, you create a new dish, using those same ingredients in new and recombined ways.

In this case, the thought was to roast the ham with all the herbs and seasonings flavoring it.  Then, to combine all of the veggie ingredients around the ham, and to use the veggies and liquids as a baste to flavor the ham roast.

I was a bit nervous to do it.  My father-in-law is a very traditional eater, and I wasn’t sure how he’d go for it, and my wife was even less convinced when I explained what I’d be doing.  I decided to go ahead with it anyway.

Deconstructed Jambalaya Ham

14” Dutch oven

18 coals below
18 coals above

  • 1 8 lb ham, thawed
  • Liberal shakes of:
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • parsley
  • thyme
  • basil
  • bay leaves
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne (not as much, to taste)

  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 3 sweet peppers
  • 4 med tomatoes, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

I started out with the thawed ham (which was a spiral cut, pre-cooked).  I cut it out of the package and put it into the 14” Dutch oven without letting it drain, to keep as much of the liquid as possible.  I mixed all of the seasonings in a bowl and mixed them up, then rubbed them all over the ham.  I put that onto the coals.

I waited only about a half hour to begin chopping up and prepping the veggies.  When they were all ready, I tossed them in around the ham.

I made sure that I had plenty of fresh coals ready to keep coming in from time to time from the side fire.

When the veggies had been in for a half hour or so, I began scooping the cooking veggies and liquids up and spooning it over the ham about every twenty minutes or so.  I also started thinking about a side dish.  I had the bread sculpture from the other day, and some salad, but I wanted a bit more variety.  I thought about doing some roasted seasoned potatoes.

Simple Dutch Oven Roasted Potatoes

10” Dutch oven

10 coals below
10-12 coals above

  • 4 large Potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • paprika

I chopping up the potatoes, thin.  I poured the olive oil on them in the 10” Dutch oven, and added the seasonings.  I stirred it up well, and put it on the coals.

From then on, it was easy.  I just monitored the coals, and the temperature of the ham, and got it on the table when it was done.  The roast cooked for a total of about 2 ½ hours.

The verdict?  I loved it, my wife loved it, and even my father-in-law asked to take some home!


Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.



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