When we got my hubby’s annual Christmas ham (he works for a small company–it’s something they do), I went looking for ham recipes to use up the rest of the what was in the freezer (not last year’s Christmas ham, mind you–I got one over the summer). And while I love cheesy, hammy goodness as much as most of the people I know, I had already made our favorite homemade mac and cheese with ham and I was trying for something a little less cholesterol-laden. (Yes, I know, it’s ham, but still.) This recipe for Potato, Ham, & Carrot Casserole caught my eye for that reason–no cheese. AND something other than broccoli or peas (which I love, but again, I’d already gone down that road). Granted, it sounded like kind of a strange combination, but I had all the ingredients, so why not?
Honestly, I’m still surprised at how much I liked it. It did what a good casserole recipe is supposed to do–it tasted like something more than just the sum of its parts. The carrot flavor came through and actually blended enough to work nicely, and the onions were part of the whole in a way that’s especially nice when you’re feeding children. When I asked the kiddos for feedback I got two thumbs middles (one of which upgraded to middle-to-up by the end of the meal) and one thumbs up–from my most stalwart potato-hater (!). And while I’m STILL a bit weirded out by this, I’m certainly not complaining! The only change I made–other than using diced ham instead of sliced, because it’s what I had–was to use a homemade cream of celery substitute instead of canned cream of mushroom, since that was going to make all of us happier. (I also think the flavors work better, but maybe that’s just me.) OH, and I threw a tablespoon of butter into the pan to cook the ham and onions. (Because BUTTER.)
Bottom line? My hubby gave it a thumbs up as well, so this is definitely happening again. Give it a try!*
*Just so you know, this only fed all six of us because I still have littles. If your family is bigger than four–or if more than one or two of those four have my kind of metabolism–I’d serve it with some sort of bread to fill people all the way up.