One of the reasons I like making a big ham – besides eating it – is to have the leftovers for soups and casseroles. I found this simple and tasty ham pie with a cheesy, biscuity crust from Cook’s Illustrated Lost Recipes Cookbook.
It’s become one of my favorites – the combination of creamy peas, green beans, and ham topped with the flaky, crispy, cheesy crust creates a healthy, from scratch “comfort food” that reappears on our menu regularly.
Make the white sauce: melt butter and saute chopped onions until softened. Add sliced mushrooms, if using. Stir in salt, pepper, dry mustard and flour and cook together for about one minute.
Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until it thickens.
Add leftover ham chunks, frozen peas, and green beans (I used the beans I grow and freeze) and stir together. Set aside while making the crust.
In a food processor, mix flour and a little cayenne pepper. Pulse in the softened butter until it resembles corn meal. I had doubts about this when I read the original recipe, because it seems too dry to come together easily and called for no liquid, but go ahead and dump the flour mixture on a floured surface, add the grated cheese, and knead it all together.
In just a few minutes, it really will hold together to form it into a ball.
At this point, you can pinch off sections and flatten them into quarter-size disks to loosely cover the filling, or you can do what I like to do: gently roll between wax paper and use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles.
Using a 3-inch cutter, I can cover our individual ramekins with one crust piece, which I like. I use a 1-inch cutter to make smaller circles if I’m using a larger dish.
Bake about 30 minutes, until slightly browned on top and bubbling around the edges.
- 3 TB butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 lb. sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups cooked, chopped ham
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1c. chopped, cooked green beans (or frozen)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 6 TB. butter, softened
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (sharp will give extra flavor)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, if using, and garlic – cook for another few minutes.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, flour and mustard and cook about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk and cook until slightly thickened, about another 5 minutes.
- Stir in the ham, peas and green beans, then transfer to 8 1-cup ramekins (or a 13×9-in baking pan). Set aside.
- Pulse the flour and cayenne in a food processor; add the butter (room temperature is best) and pulse until the flour resembles course cornmeal.
- Transfer dough to a floured work surface, sprinkle with the cheese, and knead until the cheese is well incorporated and can be formed into a ball. It will look too dry, but a few minutes kneading and it will come together.
- Cut or pinch off about 1-inch pieces, roll into balls and pat into 1/8-1/4 inch thick rounds. Alternately, roll out between wax paper to about 1/4″ thick and cut with biscuit cutters. Re-roll until the crust is used up.
- Place on top of the ham mixture, with the circles touching, but the filling showing through.
- Bake until filling is bubbling and top is golden brown, 20-25 minutes for individual ramekins or 30-35 minutes for a large baking dish.
- Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes about 6 servings