Monday, November 2, 2015

Spiced Ham Canapes (A is for Appetizers)

Last time I participated in Blogging through the Alphabet, I shared some of our favorite field trip ideas. When I was considering what I wanted to share for this round of Blogging through the Alphabet, I decided that I wanted to share recipes.  Luke is finishing up his cooking courses, Matthew is about to begin, and the little boys like to help in the kitchen as well.  This week, I'm sharing a spiced ham canapé that Luke made.  They're perfect little tidbits for holiday appetizers!

What is a canapé?  It's a one- or two-bite sized appetizer that usually consists of a cracker or piece of toast and topped with a savory spread.  Instead of a bread base, ours are thin potato wafers that are pan fried until crisp.  (If you're making them for a crowd, you could also toss them with a little oil and bake them on a cookie sheet until they are golden brown.) The ham is made in a crock pot, so you still have room in your oven for holiday cookie baking.  If you have leftover chopped ham, you can fry it the morning after the party and serve with eggs for a no-fuss hash.


1 smoked pork shoulder (about 4 pounds)
1 large onion
3 8" stalks fresh rosemary plus extra for garnish

Herb rub:
6 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp sage
3 tbsp thyme
3 tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp black pepper

8 large russet potatoes
canola oil


For the meat: 

1. Peel the onion and slice in half.  Quarter each half, and separate the layers into the bottom of a slow cooker.

2. Place the pork shoulder, cut side up, on top of the onion. 

3.  Combine the herbs and spices.  Spread them on the outside of the meat.  Place the rosemary stalks around the meat.

4.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  (You want the meat to be falling apart.)

5.  Remove the meat from the crock pot.  Shred, and then coarsely chop.

6.  Add any liquid in the crock pot -  about 2 tbsp at a time -  until the mixture is moist enough to hold itself together.  Set aside.  (If you like, you can return it to the crock pot.  Remove any onion/extra liquid, and reserve.  Return meat to the crock pot to keep warm.  If the mixture begins to dry out, add more cooking liquid or a tbsp or two of water.)  

For the potatoes:

1.  Wash potatoes.  Slice in 1/8 inch slices.  The side of a box grater or a mandolin are ideal (watch your fingers!).  If you use a knife, work slowly so that the slices stay even.  Too thin and they won't support the weight of the meat; too thick and they'll be more like steak fries.

2.  Heat a pan on the stove.  When it's hot, add 2 tbsp canola oil to the pan.  Sauté the potatoes (in batches) until they are golden brown, adding oil as necessary. 

If you are going to bake them, preheat oven to 425°F.  Toss the potatoes with about 1/4 cup oil.  Spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake about 20 min (or until golden brown), flipping halfway through so they brown evenly.

To assemble:

Place the potato slices on a serving dish. Top each slice with a heaping tablespoon of the spiced meat.  Garnish with a single rosemary needle, if desired.

These are best served hot, or at least at room temperature.  The potatoes are fine if they cool to room temperature, but if you make them in advance, warm them through so they aren't fridge-cold. 


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