We’re known for a few things in my small but proud home state of Maryland. One is blue crabs, of course; our seafood — and affinity for it — are legendary. If you’re into sports, you might respect the University of Maryland’s men’s basketball team (and lots of other sports, too). Perhaps you’ve been to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor or admired the waterfront in Annapolis, our capital.
But if you’re from down my way — Southern Maryland, as opposed to the richy-rich northern areas or the Eastern Shore — you might know us for our ham.
That’s right: ham.
I was first introduced to the delicacy that is Southern Maryland stuffed ham by a friend from work. Sandy invited me to join she and a group of girlfriends who gather each year to “stuff hams” for Thanksgiving.
After I got over my initial confusion at the phrase “ham stuffing,” which always prompts a raised eyebrow or two, I went. And had an awesome time.
The premise of a stuffed ham is simple: you take a big ol’ piece of corned ham, typically deboned, and create a “stuffing” consisting of cabbage, kale, crushed red pepper, onions, dry mustard seed, pepper and salt. Once that thing is stuffed, you bake it — and then enjoy. Recipes vary from cook to cook and county to county, but this one is pretty close to the handwritten one I photocopied from Sandy — as far as ingredients go, anyway. Based on preference, they can be mild or spicy.
However you choose to prepare or purchase yours, Southern Maryland stuffed ham is a delicacy you won’t soon forget — and it tastes even better the next day with spicy mustard. I love kale and all sorts of “disgusting” vegetables, so this sort of thing is right up my alley. It’s a delightful addition to our Thanksgiving table, and if no one else in the family likes it, well . . .
More for me. (How tragic, right?)
From my pumpkin-pie-eating face to yours, I hope y’all have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the day, stuff your face and then get ready to plunge into Black Friday shopping. I’ll be out at 6 a.m. (or thereabouts) before heading into the office, so wish me luck!