05 January, 2013

Friends with Ham Bones

I love split pea soup. My mother-in-law turned me on to it years ago. On Christmas, she makes two hams, I get one of the bones to take home for soup. I'm the only one that eats it in my house, and I usually take my time and enjoy it in piece and quiet.
Recently, before Christmas, I mentioned my pea soup addiction to a dear friend Vicki. She said that next time they get ham for dinner, the bone's mine. Today, I get a text "I have a ham bone for you." I get really excited. But, I am assuming it would be a small package that I can just shove into my purse to take home. After all, that's what I've been getting for years: a foil-wrapped package the size of an orange and a grapefruit stuck together. It always left my in-laws house in my purse. Then, Vicki arrived.
The bundle she was carefully carrying was large, heavy, and wrapped in white plastic bag. Vicki's tall and a sharp dresser, today being no exception as she was head to toe in bright kelly green. Well, half of her was covered by the large white package. This was quite a sight. I waved to her across the store's floor (I was ringing someone up) and she brightly (and loudly) announced that the package was my ham bone, with some 'extra meat' on it because her husband was very generous when he was packing it up. She said that it's soup AND dinner.
I peaked at it when I was getting ready to go home, oh boy! This was not some spiraled ham with a small bone, this was half a pig! I carefully carried the bundle to my car, placed it on the passenger seat, and took extra care driving so my precious ham bundle would not fly into the windshield. I plotted menus on the way.
First I thought of a ham, italian sausage, broccoli, pasta dish because I was already defrosting sausages at home. Then, as I was getting close to Trader Joe's, I remembered that on New Year's Eve we had a ham and caramelized onion pizza, so I decided to make one from scratch. I also grabbed broccoli as well, since I had a feeling this is at least two dinners + soup.
When I got home and unwrapped my treasure, as a very puzzled husband looked on, I found the largest ham piece I ever saw. And somewhere, in the middle of all the delicious meat, was a bone. Will have to get the large soup pot out for this one!
We named the pizza Victoria. It is white sauce base, with caramelized onions, cremini mushrooms that I browned first, basil, lots of ham, and swiss and gruyere cheeses. Two slices and I was done!
Ham pizza
For tomorrow I'm still feeling like a pasta dish (so much for attempting to diet). Bone went into the freezer, as I still have to get the soup ingredients. Plus, It'll be my end of the week treasure.
I'd say that this is a very nice way to start off my birthday week, thank God for friends with ham bones!

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