Left over ham? No problem!

Dan and I had lots of left over ham from Christmas dinner since it was just the two of us eating. So naturally, I looked for a good recipe to use from among my vintage cook books that included ham. Ever since purchasing 150 Recipes: Casserole Cookery by Marian and Nino Tracy I’d wanted to try something from this cool little book. The subtitle for the 1941 cook book is “one-dish meals for the busy gourmet.”

When Casserole Cookery came out in 1941 it was an instant hit. It came out in many editions. I have the 1943 edition, which includes a section added after WW II started called “Rationing Points the Way.” They give home cooks hints on how to adapt their recipes to war time rationing and even give fresh equivalents for the canned and frozen food which the recipes call for. An example would be instead of one No. 1 can of corn or 1 package of frozen corn use 2 fresh ears of corn and cut the kernels off the cob. Everyone had a Victory Garden right?

A plus for the book according to the publisher is the washable cover and the nifty binding which is designed to stand

Marian Tracy

open while you cook.While I could find no other cook books by Nino, who I assume is Marian’s husband, Marian was herself a fairly well-known cook book writer of the time. She wrote several cook books and served as food editor for several national newspapers.

Looking through the Casserole Cookery book I find that ham must have been extremely popular in the 1940s. There are loads of recipes I could have chosen from. After consulting with Dan we decided on Ham Jambalaya. The recipe couldn’t have been simpler, and we enjoyed it a great deal. Sure, its nothing like the gourmet Jambalaya people cook today. But it make a yummy tasting casserole! Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 lb diced cooked ham
  • 1 c. raw rice
  • 1 No. 1 can tomatoes (yes, I was a bit stumped on if our cans are the same size as the No. 1 cans of the 1940s. I figured they were close so I purchased one 16 oz. can of stewed tomatoes)
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 c. beef broth
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, or basil (I chose chives)
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Saute the bacon, onion, and green pepper until light brown.

Place uncooked rice in bottom of casserole dish and add stock, tomatoes, seasons, and meat.

Put in the oven and cook for one and 1/4 hours until rice is done.

Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs on top of dish and serve.

the finished casserole

As Marion Cunningham wrote in 1991, casseroles are not much in vogue today but certainly were mid-century. They are easy to make, easy to serve, and are often a great way to use up left overs. I bet you remember many casseroles your mom made when you were growing up. Let me know which ones were your favorites!

One Response to “Left over ham? No problem!”

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  1. Bev says:

    That does sound good! My mom did lots of things with left over ham.

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