Today I'm cooking an old family recipe for the first time. It's Oscar's Grandma Illa's New England Boiled Dinner made with his Aunt Sylvia's dumplings. The recipe was sent in an email from Liz, Oscar's mom.
Since I couldn't find a ham shank at Meijer's last night, I went with a thick slab of ham steak. I am a purist. I really don't like processed formed hams. "Give me the bone or leave it alone" is my motto. It's an entirely different animal as far as I'm concerned.
In the old recipe you cook the shank the day before, but with the ham steak I'm doing it all this afternoon.
I trimmed the ham, then browned it in the bottom of my Dutch oven. I removed the meat, added water, potatoes, onion and carrots, then layered the meat back on. It's simmering on the stove right now, and the house is smelling yummy and smoky. My Dutch oven is too small, so when the veg are tender, I'll be removing them and the meat, reducing the stock by about half, then cooking the cabbage.
After the cabbage is done, I'll put enough potatoes and carrots and onion back in to support the dumplings out of the broth, then put the lid on to cook the dumplings through.
Keeping my fingers crossed that Oscar will find it pleasing. He's been missing it.
** It turned out surprisingly light, especially as I reduced the number of potatoes and increased the amount of cabbage. And Oscar was happy.
Image is a Sarah Bernhardt Peaonie from last year's garden pics.