Fun and games with a hammy Dr. Pepper

It may be hard for some of you to believe but this month’s recipes all started with me rummaging through the liquor cabinet. Not too sure of what I was hoping to find in the dark corners but what I came across still is baffling me: Dr. Pepper.

Pop really has no place in my life unless it is diluted with some sort of alcohol. So I am staring at this two-litre bottle of Dr. Pepper wondering where the heck it came from knowing the last time I had a Dr. Pepper my other choice was most likely Coke Classic before classic was added to the name. And so . . .

Baked Dr. Pepper Ham

– 1 bone in ham

– 2 liter Dr. Pepper

– ¼ cup whole cloves

To start , I stabbed the ham all over so the flavours would truly come through. It’s really just an aggression therapy thing.

Next poke in the whole cloves all over as evenly spaced as you can. Place the ham in a roaster and empty that bottle of  pop over the ham, seal tight with aluminum foil and place in the oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 4 to 5 hours depending on size, 22 minutes per pound. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes, then  remove the cloves and serve. You too will say god damn the Dr. Pepper man.

With this ham going on I was in the comfort food mode. Now what goes with baked ham? I’m thinking homemade macaroni and cheese. This is not a recipe for those of you worried about watching calories. I’m talking a cheesy good time in your mouth.

Homemade Mac and Cheese

– 1 bag pasta shells

– 2 cup ricotta cheese

– 1 cup sour cream

– 1 cup grated gruyere

– 1 cup grated sharp cheddar

– 1 cup grated Monteray jack

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

– 2 tbsp. hot sauce

– 1 tbsp. fresh cracked pepper

– 1 tbsp. sea salt

– ¼ cup bread crumbs

– 1 tsp. paprika

– 1/8 cup butter

Let’s start this creation by cooking the shells, remember to salt your water. While this is happening, in a large bowl mix all the ingredients together except for the breadcrumbs, paprika and butter.

Once the pasta is al dente drain it and add it to the cheesy bowl mixture. Now spread the mixture into a casserole dish. Mix the breadcrumbs and paprika together and evenly shake over the top, followed by the melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Put some next to a couple slices of ham and knock your socks off.

I bet you’ve been porking out on that Dr. Pepper ham. But wait, we are not done yet. It’s time to put that bone to some good use, so leave some meat on it.

Pork Soup

– 1 ham bone (with meat left)

– 8 strips bacon (cubed)

– 4 carrots diced

– 6 celery sticks diced

– I  large onion diced

– 2 shallots diced

– 2 cup red lentil

– Fresh cracked pepper

– Sea salt

Place the ham bone in a large pot and just cover it with water. Simmer for 1 hour. While simmering soak the lentil in cold water. Remove the hambone from the pot and set aside.

Sauté the veg and bacon and add it to the stock with the soaked lentils. Remove any excess meat from the ham bone while still warm, this makes it easier. Simmer until lentil begins to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lentils are salt eaters so you might need to add more than you thought. Now sit back and enjoy your tasty creation.