Monday, July 11, 2016

Ham Steak Roasted Over Brazilian Peppercorn Dill Cabbage and Potato

     Simple Comfort Food! 
     During times of adjustment, comfort food is in high demand.  Easy to recognize simple food has a way of relieving stress.  Today's recipe is just about as simple as it gets.  Ham and cabbage is such a simple flavor combination that salt and pepper is usually only seasoning that is needed.  The better the ham steak is, the better the ham and cabbage entree will be. 
     Certain herb combinations go well together in comfort cuisine.  Herbs like dill weed and thyme provide familiar savory flavors that are are not challenging to the senses.  The flavor of a simple sugar cured ham steak seems to wake up when it is roasted with some thyme.  The savory flavor of cabbage is lightened up when a little bit of dill weed is added. 
     Plain old black pepper is what most people season cabbage with.  Some people become tired of the black pepper flavor and wish there was an alternative.  Seasoning cabbage with Brazilian Pink Peppercorns adds an interesting touch of smokey pepper flavor.  
     Brazilian pepper is not always easy to find at common grocery stores.  When it is available, it is usually way overpriced and it is sold in a tiny spice bottle.  A small spice bottle of Brazilian Peppercorns is useless from a cooking standpoint, because a higher amount of Brazilian Pepper is required for seasoning food, than black pepper.  Shopping on the internet for bulk spices, like Brazilian Peppercorns, can present opportunities for finding a good bargain.  Bulk amounts of Brazilian Peppercorns can be frozen for a long period of time and there will be no loss of flavor or color.
     When using Brazilian Peppercorns in a savory recipe, moisture is required to make the hollow pink peppercorn shells tender.  Crunchy crushed dried pink peppercorns sprinkled over an entrée is okay for some cooking applications, but for comfort food, it is better if the pink peppercorns are cooked on the soft side.  Cooking comfort food means making sure that every item on the plate is pleasantly comfortable to eat!

     Ham Steak Roasted Over Brazilian Peppercorn Dill Cabbage and Potato: 
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée!  
     A large whole sugar cured ham steak with the bone attached is best for this recipe.  The ham steak should be 1/4" to 3/8" thick.  A large ham steak that weighs 13 to 16 ounces is considered to be a single portion.  The old saying "Go big or go home" does apply to ham steaks!
     This recipe is baked in two stages.  The vegetables are given a head start, so the ham steak does not overcook and become dry.
     Step 1:  Select a deep roasting pan that is wide enough for one whole ham steak.
     Place 2 thick center cut slices of cabbage in the pan.  
     *A small head of cabbage is best.  The slices should be about 1" thick.  Minimally trim the cabbage core, so the leaves stay attached.
     Cut a 6 to 8 ounce peeled russet potato in half lengthwise and place both halves in the pan.       
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
     Add enough diluted water to the pan, so the liquid is about 1/4" deep.  
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar to the liquid in the pan. 
     Step 3:  Brush the cabbage and potatoes with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt.
     Sprinkle 2 to 3 pinches of coarsely crushed Brazilian Peppercorns over the cabbage.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of dill weed over the cabbage and potatoes.
     Step 4:  Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil.
     Bake in a 350ºF oven till the potatoes and cabbage start to become tender.  (about 35 to 45 minutes)  
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the oven.  
     Remove the foil.
     Place a large whole ham steak over the potatoes and cabbage.  (13 to 16 ounces)
     Brush the ham steak with melted unsalted butter.
     Sprinkle 1 generous pinch of thyme leaves over the ham steak.
     Step 6:  Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.  (Leave the lid off.)
     Roast the ham steak till light golden brown highlights appear and the vegetables become tender.
     Remove the pan from the oven and keep it warm on a stove top.
     When serving whole ham steaks, break out the king size dinner plates!
     Set the ham steak aside.
     Use a slotted spatula to place the potatoes and cabbage on the back half of the plate.
     Spoon some of the roasting pan juices over the cabbage.  
     Place the ham steak on the plate, so it partially covers the vegetables. 
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs.

     Viola!  An uncomplicated ham steak entrée for any season! 

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