Welcome to Ham Week

For dinner yesterday we had ham. It’s the traditional Christmas meal in the Nordics, in the same way it’s not Thanksgiving in the United States without a turkey. I bought the smallest one that I could find, which was 2.54 kilos or a little under 6 pounds. That’s a lot of pig for two people. There will be a lot of leftovers, just as there are with Thanksgiving turkey. So welcome to Ham Week.

I actually couldn’t cook it all at once. I had to cut it in half in order to fit it in the clay baker. The other half got wrapped up and placed in the fridge. After dinner I washed the clay baker, soaked it again, and baked the other half.  The second half got packaged up and put into the freezer for future use.

The rest of the leftovers will go into pea soup, lentil soup, and sandwiches. Some will be diced, fried up, and used as a garnish on potato soup and pumpkin soup. Most of the post-Christmas dishes I’ll make will be mostly vegetables enhanced with a little ham, including the sandwiches. It’s not like we’ll have a thick ham steak with every meal until it’s gone. Oh my god, I’d die. The sodium alone would kill me.

My original plan was to get a pork roast for New Year’s Eve dinner, and make either pulled pork, a pot of goulash, or both. Real goulash, Hungarian goulash, not the American macaroni and cheese dish with ground beef. Yes, I make my goulash with pork instead of beef. Don’t start with me. Let’s gang up on the people who put ground beef into boxed mac and cheese and act like they’ve made something fancy instead.

Looking at all of this ham, I’ve decided against that. I might still make the goulash, but do it meatless. Just tomatoes and onions and peppers, garlic and paprika. You can always get nice fresh tomatoes in Finland year-round, for a good price, and red bell peppers as well. Serve it with some boiled potatoes. So good. Even better the next day. We don’t need more pork in the house for a while.


2 thoughts on “Welcome to Ham Week

  1. I feel you with the ‘not need more pork for a while’. We have bought a single slab of pork belly (traditional in Norway for Yule), and cut it in 1/3 and 2/3 yesterday. I seasoned both pieces, and roasted the little one for T and I. We still have a third of that left cooked in the fridge. And now I heard that one of the guests we’d hoped to have this week got norovirus for Christmas (how fun for her, not), so that’s off the schedule. I am going to have to roast the pork in any case, and now I thank you for the idea of pea soup with it, because just eating slabs of it straight-up would probably not kill us, but it’d not be any fun either.

  2. We gave up on the the Ham for two of us after despite freezing a lot , we still had a large slab that had to be thrown out. Large winter meals
    are a Christmas tradition, but they don’t really work for a southern hemisphere summer. We just accept the small portions we might get as gifts and stick to sandwiches, salads and the small BBQ meals for the holidays.

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