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Published: Friday, November 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Use your 'whittlings' from ham in rarebit

Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner has been the tradition in many or even most of our homes for generations now.
That's not to say that every table will feature a glorious golden gobbler, though, because in other of our homes, what's eagerly anticipated (not to mention expected) is a luscious prime rib roast or succulent baked ham.
If ham is always or was this year's choice, you may already have a file of favorite recipes for leftovers. If not, what a delicious mealtime bonus to enjoy.
After slicing off, slivering off or lopping off some of the ham, I think it's important to always save enough for a really, really meaty ham bone and, hopefully, the rind as well.
The why of that is because then we have a choice of two other marvelous suppers or dinners: a batch of ham and beans or a potful of split pea soup.
Between the slicing and the ham bone with plenty of meat and the rind still on it, that's where what my mother and gram called the whittlings come in.
These can be used to great advantage in various things -- ham gravy over homemade biscuits to serve with eggs or this or that and so on and so forth.
Another of our family favorites, though, is whittles in a beery good cheese sauce, served over English muffins and sprinkled with fresh chives or finely sliced green onions.
Here goes:
Welsh rarebit with ham (whittles in sauce)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour, divided
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash garlic powder
Liquid hot pepper seasoning (Tapatio or Valentina preferred) to taste
1 generous tablespoon Worcestershire
3 cups milk
About 1 bottle or can (12 ounces) beer, amber or dark preferred
3-4 cups grated cheddar cheese, mild, medium or sharp, divided
2-3 cups small bite-size pieces or slivers cooked ham
English muffins, split and toasted
Chives or sliced green onions

In medium saucepan, melt butter; whisk in flour, about 1/4 cup at a time and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly.
Whisk in dry mustard, salt, pepper and a good dash of garlic powder. Whisk in pepper seasoning and Worcestershire.
Quickly whisk in milk, then whisk in beer and continue cooking, whisking fairly frequently, until mixture bubbles and thickens.
Whisk in cheese, a handful at a time, and then stir in ham pieces. Heat, stirring, until mixture is hot. (If necessary, thin with a little more beer or milk.)
Ladle over hot toasted muffins and sprinkle with the chives or green onions.
Makes enough sauce for about 6 English muffins, halved.
The next Forum will appear in Monday's Time Out section.
Story tags » Cooking

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