I want to hold your ham

[Recipe 1] PEA, ZUCCHINI and HAM SOUP (with leftover Christmas ham) and
[Recipe 2] 3-CHEESE MACARONI (with leftover Christmas ham)
Thought you might fancy a couple of recipes for using up your leftover Christmas ham next week. I typed up and photographed these earlier in the year, saving them for now in case I was too pooped to post anything this week. Well, as my mum would say (in her beautiful Dutch accent) Sanks god for dat. Apart from present-wrapping, shopping, baking, visiting the Myer windows, attending nightly Chrissie parties and squeezing in some work; I’ve been stung by a wasp on the bottom of my foot, slammed the car boot lid on my head (don’t ask) and dropped my new umbrella in a toilet. Pretty crazy (and occasionally embarrassing) week!
Anyhoo, back to cooking… I’ve made both these recipes many times, and they’re pretty excellent, even if I do say so myself!
If you’re having ham on Christmas day, don’t toss the bone with all those lovely bits of ham stuck on it – use it to flavour Pea, zucchini (courgette) and ham soup. This soup is beautiful, and perfect for freezing and taking with you on holidays. Soup is always exactly what I crave after gorging myself on Christmas day.
The 3-cheese macaroni is the ultimate mac n’ cheese. My boys just LOVE it. It’s full of veggies, and super tasty with the addition of Gruyère cheese. Gruyère is one of my favourites, so nutty and creamy – just a whiff of it casts me straight back to my childhood dinner table and the steaming pots of cheesey, winey fondue made by my dad.
Hope you all have a beautiful holiday season and New Year. I’m unplugging for a while, and looking forward to some serious relaxation. Ciao for now. See you next year. xx
PS: You’ll find my Glazed Christmas ham recipe here.

Pea, zucchini and ham soup[Recipe 1] Pea, zucchini and ham soup

Ingredients (serves 8–10):
500g (1 lb) dried green split peas, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 brown onions, diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 large carrots, chopped into very small pieces
2 large zucchinis (courgettes), chopped into small pieces
2 full-length celery sticks, including leaves, chopped
1 large leftover Christmas ham bone, preferably double-smoked
8 cups (2 litres) water
2 bay leaves
♦ 1 cup (approx. 200g) chopped leftover Christmas ham (you may not need the full amount – see recipe)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh mint leaves, torn, to serve

Drain and rinse soaked split peas.
Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add soaked peas, frozen peas, carrot, zucchini, celery, ham bone, water and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until dried peas are very tender. Stir occasionally.
Allow to cool for one hour (leave the ham bone in). Remove ham bone. Discard bay leaves. Puree soup in batches in a blender, or with a stick blender.
Cut off any ham remaining on the bone, and return it to the soup with the chopped leftover Christmas ham. Season well with salt and pepper. Stir.
Note: If your ham bone is quite meaty, you may not need the extra cup of ham.
Re-heat the soup and serve, scattered with mint.

  • You’ll find my Glazed Christmas Ham recipe here.
  • Leftover Christmas ham be diced and frozen, for up to 6 weeks (cured meat can’t be frozen for as long as other meats). Freeze it in 2-cup lots, then you can whip it out for these recipes later! Defrost overnight in the fridge.
  • Pea, zucchini and ham soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. If using fresh (not frozen) ham, the soup can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • The quality of your ham will make a big difference to the flavour of this soup. Taste the soup after pureeing – if your ham bone was well-stripped of meat or only lightly smoked, you may need to add a crumbled beef stock cube dissolved in a little hot water. 

Ham and cheese macaroni

[Recipe 2] 3-cheese macaroni

Ingredients (serves 6–8):
400g (14 oz) dried macaroni
2 corn cobs
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into very small cubes (about 6mm/¼”)
1 head broccoli, florets removed, chopped into small pieces
1 cup (125g) frozen peas (or fresh – see notes below recipe)
1 cup (approx. 200g) finely chopped leftover Christmas ham
4 tablespoons (60g) butter
⅓ cup (50g) flour
2½ cups (625ml) milk
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 cup (100g) grated Gruyère
1½ cups (150g) grated extra-sharp cheddar
¾ cup (75g) grated mozzarella
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add dried macaroni, corn cobs and carrot. Return to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes until macaroni is al dente (don’t overcook it, as it will continue to soften in the oven). Drain. Remove kernels from corn; and return to pan with macaroni and carrot. Set aside.
Steam broccoli and peas until just tender. Drain and add to the macaroni pot with the chopped leftover Christmas ham.
Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over a low heat. Add the flour. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring often. Slowly stir in the milk, a cup at a time. Bring to the boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 4 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Stir in mustard. Remove from the heat and add Gruyère and cheddar. Stir until smooth, and season to taste. Add cheese sauce to the macaroni mixture and stir well.
Grease a 6cm (2″) deep, 32 x 22cm (12 x 9″) oven proof dish. Spoon in macaroni mixture.
Scatter mozarella over the macaroni, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Stand for 5 minutes before serving.

  • Fresh peas can be used, instead of frozen. Drop them into the pot with the corn, macaroni and carrot, in the last 5 minutes simmering time.
  • Gruyère can be replaced with Swiss cheese or Jarlsberg if unavailable, although the overall flavour of your macaroni will be milder.
  • Leftover Gruyère can be grated and frozen in a ziplock bag for up to 2 months. It’s excellent on pizza or in fondue!
  • This recipe serves 8. Leftovers can be re-heated in the microwave, or in a low oven, covered with foil. If you’re using fresh ham (not frozen) you can cook two smaller macaroni dishes, and freeze one for later, for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, cover with foil and warm at 180°C (350ºF) for about 20 minutes.

24 thoughts on “I want to hold your ham

  1. PS one more comment- the crunchy corn and the vegetables ‘just cooked’ was so scrumptious. Sometimes I find cheese macaronis a bit ‘not enough’ but the veggies put it on a new level and it was quite balanced.

    • Thanks Fran. Yeah, I find a side isn’t needed with this dish as it is so chock-full of veggies. My veggies aren’t exactly ‘crunchy’, but they’re definitely not mushy – somewhere in the middle, with a bit of bite. Thanks again for the feedback.

  2. Hello dear Sas
    I have just made the 3 cheese macaroni and I felt like quite the professional cook! It was absolutely delicious. It makes a big mixture and I needed my extra large lasagna dish and I was thinking that you do not like to do recipes by halves and consequently there would be leftovers for lunches for myself and partner. BUT – little did I know that everybody would gulp it down (I think my 12 year old needs some better table etiquette) and help themselves to the rest of it so alas no leftovers. It was delicious. I was worried that the sauce was going to go lumpy as I tend to have that effect on roux based sauces but it was not a problem.
    Just a quick question- when adding the milk cup by cup is it best if one just slowly pours in the milk while mixing with a wooden spoon or is it ok to put a whole cup of milk at a time?
    That is a definite keeper.
    Thanks Sas

    • Hello dear Fran! Fantastic you made and liked the macaroni. Thanks so much for the feedback. I pour the milk in quite slowly, stirring at the same time, but it’s a pretty forgiving sauce, so I’m sure pouring in the milk a whole cup at a time would be fine too. Glad to hear it’s a keeper. My boys love it too.

  3. Saskia, pea and ham soup is one of my favourites and I love the addition of the zucchini — makes it a bit lighter and summery. Your Christmas decorations are/ were absolutely beautiful! Your Christmas lead up sounds like it was crazy and I am very happy that you had a good rest!!

  4. what a week you had!! But well done for preparing these posts in advance, something I try to do but never seem to manage !
    And you’ve inspired me to make a cauli- macaroni chese for my supper tonight, thank you!!
    Wishing you a joyous and peaceful New Year, Claire x

  5. LOL loving the title. My brothers live off ham for a whole week after Christmas. By choice!! When I used to eat ham, I used to get over it by day 2. Lovely recipes Saskia 🙂 Hope you had a very merry Christmas x

    • Thanks Cass. Had an extremely merry Christmas! Hope you did too. I do love baked ham, but I’m on day 2 and I’m nearly hammed-out already. Made soup today, and froze the rest for when I can look at it again.

  6. I am still trying to get a handle on Xmas and I have only a few hours left….aughhhhh!!.
    Looking forward to some more food adventures in 2013!!! Enjoy yours with all your darling boys.

    • Ditto Fran. I’ve just baked the mother of all hams. Exhausted! We’ve booked a babysitter to mind the boys for 1.5 hours at 4pm so we can go out for a wee glass of wine or 2 before dinner. SO looking forward to it. Enjoy Christmas with your darlings too. xx

  7. My, what a week you’ve had! Sounds like you’re a bit too busy! These recipes both look great and I’ll be saving these to try. Merry Xmas and enjoy your break xx

    • Have definitely been a bit too busy, but it was all fun busyness (except for the wasp sting and forehead injury). Everything is done/wrapped/cooked now though, so I’m looking forward to lolling around. Happy Christmas to you too Ali. xx

  8. The soup looks really delicious, but that shot of your mac ‘n cheese is just so inviting – I wanted to put my spoon through the screen (happy to say I didn’t try!). Can you tell that I’m drawn to comfort foods? So good to discover your blog this year; have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Glad you didn’t smash your computer screen! Love comfort food too, the daggier the better (also love tuna casserole and meatloaf). They’re the perfect recipes for this crazy time of year! Rapt to have discovered your lovely blog too. Happy Christmas.

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